Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Leadership & Policy Studies

Committee Chair

Derrick Robinson

Committee Member

Reginald Green

Committee Member

Ladrica Menson-Furr

Committee Member

Donna Osbourne Bradley


This qualitative study was an examination of the lived experiences of 12 Black female graduates of P-12 private schools in the United States to understand the nature and essence of their schooling experiences. The objective of this research was to understand what happens to Black female students in private schools and what that experience means to them, either positively or negatively. The phenomenological research and composite narrative design entailed conducting semistructured interviews. The criterion-based sample gathered using the snowball method included 12 participants who identified as Black female graduates of P-12 private schools in the United States.The study supported the Black girl success model, which the researcher developed from a body of critical race theory, critical feminist theory, critical school leadership, culturally responsive pedagogy; Afrocentric, and positive youth development frameworks. The three research questions underlying the study were What is the nature and essence of the schooling experience of Black female graduates of P-12 private schools?; How do Black female graduates of P-12 private school speak about their P-12 private school experience?; and How do Black female graduates of P-12 private schools describe their experiences of being racialized and/or experiencing racism?Three major themes emerged from the analysis of participant interviews: (a) positive learning environment, (b) confident student, and (c) visible Black girl. Six meaning units were also notable: (a) lack of sense of belonging/support system, (b) lack of institutional connectedness, (c) racialized experiences, (d) racial cognitive dissonance, (e) resilience, and (f) resistance. Key findings from the study indicate that Black girls do, indeed, have a unique racialized private schooling experience that lacks a sense of connectedness and belonging. Their critical strategies for coping are resilience and resistance. Seven of the 12 participants would repeat their private school experience, because they believed there is a great value attached to a private school education. However, only three of the 12 would send their children to their alma mater, believing the school culture has not improved enough to provide a positive schooling experience that supports their childs racial identity. The data suggest that Black female students need specific support in the school community, a critically conscious school culture, a strong schoolhome connection, a diverse faculty, and a culturally responsive curriculum that reinforces their identity to ensure a positive learning experience. Private schools can use the findings from this study as guidance on not only how to recruit students, but also what they need to do to retain students and to ensure their alumnae return as future parents or donors. Key words: Black girls, private school, intersectionality


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest