The praxis of disrupting educational spaces: culturally relevant pedagogy in a school-based mentoring program

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elbert Hawkins III (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Leila Villaverde

Abstract: This qualitative research study examines the Successful Team Aimed at Reaching Student Success (STARSS) mentoring program at Excellence High School (EHS). The STARSS mentoring program purports to address the academic, social, and emotional needs of African American young men at EHS. Hence, the purpose of this study is to settle my curiosity by examining the effectiveness of the STARSS mentoring program through the lens of the participants in the program over a six-year period, 2012–2018. The participants in STARSS consist of African American young men as well as teachers, counselors, and administrators, who actively serve as mentors and student advocates. In the research, the focus is on current and former teachers and administrators and former graduates from EHS who actively participated in the STARSS mentoring program. I define active participation as mentors, advocates, and mentees who participated in the activities and learning opportunities designed for the program. The activities and learning opportunities include, but were not limited to, the HistoryMakers celebration at the beginning of each program year, Breakfast for Champions, the STARSS Honors Academy, one-on-one mentor and mentee sessions, field trips, professional development opportunities, etc. To determine the effectiveness of the program, I gravitate towards Effectiveness Theory, Critical Race Theory (CRT), and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP) to frame the study and to answer the research questions that ground the study. I use Participatory Action Research (PAR) to frame the methodology, and I use semi-structured interviews as a research method to collect the data. I place these theories and research methods within the same space and within the same context as specialty programs. I define specialty programs as any program that intentionally works to enhance the academic, social, or emotional well-being of school-aged children outside of their classroom spaces (e.g., comprehensive school counseling programs). I reference comprehensive school counseling programs as an example, due to the commitment of the advisors in STARSS willingness to address the mentees’ social and emotional well-being. I also reference these programs due to the advisors’ commitment to bring attention to the idea of culturally relevant learning, inequitable school practices, and their commitment to disrupt social practices that marginalize and dehumanize students within our spaces of learning. Therefore, the benefits of this study could potentially add to critical discourse pertaining to education in the United States, best practices for implementing and examining school-based mentoring programs, and the academic achievement and social and emotional growth of African American males.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
African American Males, Mentoring, Mentorship, Professional School Counselor Mentors, Public Schools and Mentoring, School-Based Mentoring Programs
Mentoring in education $z United States
Culturally relevant pedagogy $z United States
African American high school students

Email this document to