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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Antonio Serna

First Committee Member

Lynn Beck

Second Committee Member

Odie Douglas

Third Committee Member

Harriett Arnold


This Northern California single case qualitative study used Critical Race Theory as a framework for examining the perspectives of African American administrators on improving graduation rates of African American male public high school students in San Joaquin County. Barriers to graduation completion in San Joaquin County public high schools continue to leave stakeholders looking for solutions to change the status quo for African American male high schools students. Ten San Joaquin County African American male and female administrators (identified by pseudonyms) from various public elementary, middle, and high schools were interviewed individually. Participants' responses were categorized into themes according to their answers for each question. Contrary to explanations for low graduation rates of African American male students, as predicted in the literature review of this study, the participants' perspectives rarely indicated that discipline, or lack of parental involvement was a prevailing reason for low graduation rates for African American male students. Low teacher expectations, lack of role models and advocates, and the failure of the school systems to implement successful strategies to improve the graduation rates of African American male students appeared to be the most common themes as discussed in the literature review. Participants perspectives suggest public high schools in San Joaquin County struggle to make positive connections with African American male students. All of the participants claimed that teachers, administrators, and school staff struggle to build and maintain healthy relationships with African American male students. Some of the recommendations from the participants of this study suggest that stakeholders can assist African American male students in overcoming barriers and improving their graduation rates by: starting African American male charter schools, operating mentoring programs in schools, and recruiting more African American teachers and administrators.





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