Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Linda Silvernail


The purpose of this phenomenological case study was to examine the forces that impact Black male enrollment in advanced courses at an urban public high school in the southeast. In two rounds of one-on-one interviews and two focus group sessions, qualitative data was collected from students who were currently enrolled in advanced courses as well as from students who had been identified as gifted but were not currently enrolled in advanced courses. Data was coded inductively using constant comparative analysis. Emergent themes included problems with the marketing and incentivizing of advanced coursework; irregularities in the notification and advisement process; participants’ self-perceptions of being the “odd one out;” their mostly strong, positive academic self-perceptions; their varied relationships with peers and adults on campus; the microaggressions and implicit racism they have perceived; and the complexity of culturally relevant pedagogy. The findings suggest a need for teachers to advocate for students in the identification and advisement processes; to build supportive and connected classroom communities, particularly in advanced classes; to honor the uniqueness of each student and avoid essentialization; and to build relationships with students in order to support students academically and socioemotionally, as well as to better inform their own curriculum and pedagogy.


© 2022, Jacquelyn Ortner