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Jolena James-Szanton

Dissertation Fellow, 2006

Dissertation: Examining the Social Networks of High-Achieving Black Adolescents

Abstract: Educators debate how Black students’ social networks and ethnic values relate to their academic performance. The literature often focuses on low-achieving students; however, high-achieving Black students’ social welfare is often overlooked in this debate. The tendency to overlook this group may result from educators’ assumptions that since high-achieving Black students do not have academic dilemmas, they must not have social ones. This dissertation will examine (a) where achieving Black students are located in a school’s social network, (b) what factors characterize achieving Black students’ friendships, and (c) how location in their school’s network and the characterization of their friends impacts achieving Black students levels of depression, loneliness, and self-worth. Employing social network methodology and hierarchical linear modeling, the research analyzes the relationships among the values and attitudes of high-achieving Black students their friends and determines what factors of the achieving students’ networks influence their psychosocial adjustment.

Shane R. Jimerson, Ph.D.
UC Santa Barbara/education

Fellow, 2001

Title: Early Reading Assessment

This study examines the validity of an early reading fluency assessment methodology through analyses of longitudinal data about Latino and Anglo students’ reading performance across 1st through 4th grade. This research has implications for educational decision-making for language minority students that cumulatively benefits those students’ long-term achievement and ultimately enhances their educational opportunities.

Korina M. Jocson
UC Berkeley/education

Dissertation Fellow, 2003

Dissertation: Youth Poetry as a Tool for Promoting Literacy, Social and Academic Development

Abstract: This study examines the ways one intervention program, Poetry for the People (P4P), influences the literacy learning processes of high school youth. This study explores the impact of the program on literacy practices and learning processes associated with poetry. In addition, the study seeks to understand the ways that these experiences have contributed to the academic and social identities of students in high school and beyond. Effective strategies for teaching and learning as well as developing a college-going school culture are assessed with respect to this intervention model.

John Johnson
UC Santa Cruz/psychology

Dissertation Fellow, 2009

Dissertation: The Contextual Functionality of Black Student Unions: An Ecological Systems Analysis of Institutional Resources Contributing to Black Student Retention

Melanie Toshiye Jones
UC Davis/sociology

Dissertation Fellow, 2007

Dissertation: Educational Advantages: Race, Class, and Teacher-Student Relationships

Abstract: Past research emphasizes the importance of teachers in motivating students in school, especially African American students. However, we know little about why or how teacher-student relationships help students gain educational advantages or additional support from teachers. We also do not know how race and social class faciliate or impede teacher-student relationships or how students benefit from such relationships. This dissertation uses ethnographic methods, interviews, and observations at a public high school in California with a substantial African American population and diversity in social class to examine how race and social class shape relationships between African American students and their teachers. This project also investigates how teacher-student relationships help students gain increased support in planning course schedules and preparing for higher education. In doing so, this project will highlight the specific roles teachers play in reinforcing or moderating the relationship between social class and preparation for college among African American students.

Rebecca Joseph

Dissertation Fellow, 2003

Dissertation: How First Grade Teachers Utilize Prescriptive Reading Curricula

Abstract: California is currently at the forefront of a national trend in mandating prescriptive early reading curricula.  These curricula exclude a focus on teaching methods and instead focus exclusively on  the use of phonics-centered direct instruction.  This approach is inconsistent with research that finds that effective literacy instruction requires multiple strategies that are tailored to the specific needs of students, particularly those with varying language and cultural backgrounds.  This study investigates how six effective California urban first grade teachers make sense of and respond to these curricula-- exploring the beliefs and ideologies, tangible tools, literacy experiences, and teaching practices that shape their overall teaching identity.

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