Year of Publication

2015

Season of Publication

Summer

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Department

Education

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Chris Janson

Second Advisor

Dr. Francis Godwyll

Third Advisor

Dr. Sophi Maxis

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Warren Hodge

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Christopher Johnson

Department Chair

Dr. Christopher Janson

College Dean

Dr. Marsha Lupi

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify and understand how African American alumni of urban high schools perceived that they could best contribute to their former schools. Despite numerous improvement efforts for several decades, the academic performance of urban high school students has failed to keep pace with that of their suburban counterparts. This research was framed around the premise that the rich legacies and diverse cultural experiences of African American alumni of urban high schools could mitigate the outside factors that negatively impact student performance at urban schools. These funds of knowledge, as Moll and Amanti (2005) described the cultural and cognitive resources that are derived from the lived experiences of marginalized people, are unique to African American alumni of urban high schools. The 45 participants of this study were African American alumni of two prominent urban high schools, Jean Ribault High School and William Raines High School, located in Jacksonville, Florida. Using Q methodology, participants sorted 38 statements reflecting how they perceived that African American alumni could best contribute to their former schools. The researcher then employed statistical software to correlate the 45 Q sorts, factor analyzed those correlations, and extracted five collectively held factors. However, since the fifth factor was bipolar, the researcher interpreted the five-factor solution as having six perspectives, one for each of the first four factors and two opposite perspectives for factor five. The six perspectives were named College Preparation, Relationship Building, Spirituality, Self-efficacy, Visibility (students), and Visibility (parents). Through the lens of social capital, these resulting perspectives were then systematically interpreted to provide a rich description of how African American alumni of urban high schools perceived that they could best contribute to their former schools.

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