Publication Date

Spring 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Genvieve Dorsey


Ethnic Studies, implementation, K-8, praxis, qualitative anaylsis, social justice

Subject Areas

Educational leadership


This research was a descriptive study in which the researcher explored the beginning phases of Ethnic Studies implementation in a Kindergarten through Eighth grade (K-8) school district in Northern California. Using a social justice lens, and through a review of Ethnic Studies, Collective Efficacy, Critical Consciousness, and School Culture constructs, the researcher attempted to capture and articulate a cultural profile of the school district and the degree to which it aligned to the cultural typologies articulated among Ethnic Studies scholars.The study included the collection of several types of data, including: (1) archival documents; (2) teacher focus groups; and (3) administrator interviews. Analyzing these three types of data through the aforementioned constructs yielded six key findings. First, the school board proposed Ethnic Studies through a resolution however, broader support for its implementation appeared evident. Second, critical consciousness was defined by documents and participants in terms of the adult work within the system and as student outcomes. Third, Ethnic Studies in this district was still being defined; seen by some as a classroom or school cultural element and as a discrete subject by others. Fourth, fear of public backlash while implementing Ethnic Studies was felt by some educators. Evidence suggested that administrative buy-in and supports were helpful in dealing with that fear. Fifth, a vision for grassroots leadership with top-down support was beginning to take shape. Finally, professional development needs for Ethnic Studies implementation were articulated.