Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Higher Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Nancy DeFrance

Academic Year



The United States population has and is continuing to become more diverse. This is evident in our country’s schools as there is an increasing number of students of color in our classrooms. The problem is that national standardized assessment data shows students of color perform significantly lower than their white peers across all content areas. Numerous factors have been studied as possible reasons for the persisting gap. This project focuses on some of the in-school contributing factors, such as teacher diversity, inadequate curriculum, and the lack of diversity found in curriculum and children’s literature. As the gap in achievement has been studied for decades, researchers have also focused on studying the mismatch between school and students’ home culture. While researchers have coined varying terms, the theory of ‘culturally relevant teaching’ from Gloria Ladson-Billings is the backbone of this project. Culturally relevant teaching stands on three principles--- academic success, cultural competence, and critical consciousness. This project aims to engage elementary students of color in daily lessons that will connect to their identity, as well as having them critically think about the ways in which oppression and racism are present in our society, all while teaching academic skills. A professional development, in the format of a learning lab, will take place as lessons are being taught. This professional development will grow teachers' knowledge and experience in implementing culturally relevant teaching. Children of color deserve an education that values and empowers them, while preparing them for better opportunities to be successful in life.

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Education Commons