Tapping into the potential of African American alumni of urban schools
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. The 45 participants of this study were African American alumni of two prominent urban high schools, 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 correlated the 45 Q sorts, factor analyzed those correlations, and extracted five collectively held factors. However, because 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 5. 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.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Johnson. (2017). Tapping Into the Potential of African American Alumni of Urban Schools. SAGE Open, 7(3), 215824401772173–. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244017721732