Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt

Second Advisor

LaDonna Whitner

Third Advisor

Debra J. Pitts


The purpose of this study was to engage in ethnographic research involving Jack E. Singley High School (JESA), which was part of the Irving Independent School District in Irving, Texas and recognized throughout the state as one of its most successful high schools. Singley High School had a population of 1600, with 88% minority students, who continued to exhibit academic achievement. The researcher evidenced specific interest in the performance of African-American male students at Singley, since this academic performance consistently received national recognition. This sub-population had been described as experiencing an ‘achievement gap’. However at Singley, African- American males were succeeding. The researcher explored how this high school was effective in preparing its African American male students for academic success through interviews of individual students who demonstrated the ability to succeed in the academic arena under challenging personal and cultural circumstances. The results of the study highlighted the importance of collaborative learning in self-efficacy and illustrated the power of student ‘buy in’, when the students could directly relate their academic work to tangible career goals. Increasing, the relevancy of academics and preparing students for life beyond high school afforded clear-cut goals and added value to education, increasing student motivation and student academic success. One of the most surprising insights from this research, for the researcher, had nothing to do with academics, though its positive connection to success was clear. The insight was the gratitude that students vocalized for being accepted as a part of a professional institution and learning the tenets of professionalism, which allowed them to view themselves in a more positive way.


Copyright 2015