Despite the well-documented benefits of integration and Southern California’s racial, socioeconomic, and linguistic diversity, California and U.S. efforts to promote integrated magnet schools have been minimal and primarily driven by local districts. Attempts to evaluate magnet programs primarily focus on student outcomes, yet surprisingly few studies examine approaches used by school leaders to establish and achieve program outcomes. This study contributes to the knowledge and practice of magnet implementation by exploring one California high school’s efforts to establish a dual enrollment magnet program. An explanatory mixed methods case study design was used to understand how school leaders promoted student integration and academic excellence, challenged systemic inequities, and committed resources to close opportunity gaps. Data comprised archival records, in-depth interviews with ten administrative, teacher, and parent leaders from the high school, and school documents. Findings indicated that a combination of factors contributed to increased and increasingly diverse enrollment, equity, and academic excellence in a dual enrollment magnet. These factors included visibly committed school leaders, bringing the college campus to the high school, open and free access to college courses, embedded supports (dedicated program staff and introductory courses to build students’ confidence), anti-bias teacher training, and open-door communication. Study results indicated a need for transparent, open, and comprehensible communication and increased collaboration between the college partner and school administrators, teachers, and parents to address and overcome equity barriers.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Magnet schools--California; School integration--High schools--California; High schools--Administrations; Educational leadership--High schools

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Kfir Mordechay