Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Stratton, Susan

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


African American students--Illinois; Corporate culture--Illinois; Elementary schools--Illinois


Current practices in schools leave a segment of the school population woefully unprepared to meet the academic, technological, and social challenges of the future. The largest single disaggregated identified subgroup of students, African American/ non-White, shows the most discrepant achievement on standardized measurements when compared to all other disaggregated subgroups (e.g., Hispanic, English language learner, special education) under the No Child Left Behind Act (2001). Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative study was to examine norms, beliefs and assumptions, traditions and rituals in three academically improving, high-poverty public elementary schools with predominantly African American student populations that are meeting the adequate yearly progress criteria under the No Child Left Behind Act. The significance of this study lies in the recognition of the cultural aspects and characteristics within these schools. Selected schools were examined through the lens of Schein and Deal and Peterson’s definitions of culture. In addition, the available research on the experiences of African American students in the public school system was studied to provide perspective on the current conditions that exist. This study found that there were specific identifiable characteristics within the school culture that supported African American students in their school setting. Shared norms of behavior provided the structures necessary, influencing and defining the culture through the development of curriculum, instruction, the monitoring of teaching and learning, professional development and improvement, school improvement planning, hiring practices, policies, and politics. High expectations permeated all aspects of culture. The study proceeded in three phases: (1) selection and implementation, (2) data collection, and (3) data analysis. This study provided baseline data on the impact of norms, beliefs and assumption, and traditions and rituals and the resulting impact on creating culture in public schools where African American students are making adequate yearly progress under the No Child Left Behind Act.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [142]-150).


vii, 167 pages




Northern Illinois University

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