Educators strive to prepare learners to become productive citizens, provide comprehensive knowledge concerning cultural literacy, and equip them to enter the workforce. A quality education develops critical thinkers to compete globally. Unfortunately, many Black students encounter barriers to academic achievement. The purpose of this qualitative study is to better understand ecological systems and educational factors and their impact on the lived experience of young Black students within south Los Angeles, California. Specifically, an exploration of their high school experiences and perceptions will be emphasized. Some educators have little readiness in race scholarship, comprehending social character related to race, and acknowledging racism. They may perceive ethnicity as insignificant. Yet, it can be debated whether teachers and academic administrators hold inherent ethnic philosophies that may influence their learners’ academic success (Toure & Thompson-Dorsey, 2018). This study will be informed by the core constructs of Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) and Howard’s (2021) theoretical frameworks. Stereotypes beget biased teaching styles and attitudes that hinder Black students’ academic success and perpetuate racial disenfranchisement. For this study, the participating subjects will be recent Black high school graduates aged 20-25. Each will share their lived experience in reflecting on ninth through twelfth grades. Through the findings of this qualitative study, the researcher hopes to contribute to this body of knowledge by focusing on drivers that influenced the participants' academic outcomes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Students, Black; Urban high schools— Los Angeles (Calif.); Ecological Systems Theory; South Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Eric Hamilton

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