Date of Award

Fall 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy and Leadership

First Advisor

Scanlan, Martin

Second Advisor

Pink, William

Third Advisor

Chubbuck, Sharon


The goal of this study was to contribute to a better understanding of what makes a successful school for African American children. Theresa Perry's (2010) Theory of Practice for African American School Achievement provided the framework for my study. Perry states that schools need to have two characteristics for African American students to be successful. First African American students must be members of a community of practice, which normalizes achievement. Second, schools must offer a broad range of supports that allow students to learn, to practice, and to receive reinforcement with regard to the behaviors and practices that are necessary for one to be an achiever. Guided by Perry's framework, I conducted a case study of a Franklin Elementary, a school whose academic achievement test data indicate that they are successful in educating African American children.

Three forms of data were collected and analyzed for this study: survey, interview, and documentations. Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS. Interview and documentation data were analyzed using the cut and sort method, in which documents were cut and repeatedly sorted to detect themes related to Perry's framework.

I applied my findings to operationalize Perry's framework, in an effort to provide helpful guidance for other schools serving African American children. The knowledge gained in this study contributes to a better understanding of what makes a successful school for African American children

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