Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Michener Schulze, Mary


Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes are seen as steppingstones to college. There is a belief that these classes are the foundation of collegiate matriculation for students of color. In response to this pathway the High Achievement Program at a suburban high school was created in 2005 to increase the number of Latino and African American students in Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and honors classes and offer them academic and social support. This phenomenological study examined the lived experience of African American and Latino students who were actively engaged in a suburban high school’s High Achievement Program with the emergence of the following themes: (1) empowerment, (2) a sense of belonging through racial affinity, (3) the school’s culture and (4) the impact of the High Achievement Program on their college experience. Insights gained from this study are: (1) the participants in the study benefitted socially, emotionally and academically from the program, (2) the participants felt affirmed and safe in groups of racial affinity, (3) being clustered with other African Americans and Latinos in AP/IB/honors classes eliminated the participants’ feelings of isolation and hyper-visibility, and (4) the participants valued the relationship and support provided by the High Achievement Program Coordinator.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation