Term of Award

Spring 2007

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Walter Polka

Committee Member 1

Judith Repman

Committee Member 2

Meta Harris

Committee Member 3

Ming Fang He

Abstract

The purpose of the study is to explore the role of the principals in promoting a culturally relevant learning environment to help Black students in urban elementary schools to achieve academic success. The voice of the principals is absent in the literature. As a group, the academic achievement of students in suburban elementary schools surpasses the academic achievement of students in urban elementary schools based on assessments on the national and state levels. The majority of the Black students in elementary schools attend schools located in the urban areas that utilize the traditional teaching instruction, strategies, and methods to impart knowledge to their students. Based on the scores on the standardized assessments, many Black students are not demonstrating that they have mastered the required concepts for proficiency in the academic areas. Many researchers confirm that the traditional schooling is failing to educate Black students. Teachers are not connecting the classroom learning with the daily experiences of the Black students. The consequence of the disconnection between academic knowledge and the daily experiences of Black students results in the disinterest in the educational process for many Black students. 2 Researchers support culturally relevant learning environments that are designed to strengthen the cohesiveness between the classroom knowledge and the experiences of Black students. Culturally relevant learning environments nurture the intellectual, social, and emotional aspects of the student. Black students are able to become active learners and take ownership of their learning as they utilize the classroom learning in their daily lives. A review of the research literature indicates that the traditional educational systems are providing an inadequate education for the Black students in urban elementary schools. The data for the study was collected using qualitative methods. The researcher utilized three case studies to explore the role of the principals in promoting a culturally relevant learning environment to help Black students in urban elementary schools to achieve academic success. The study revealed that the principals promoted culturally relevant activities intermittently to help improve the academic achievement of the Black students in their schools.

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