First Advisor

Jason Ranker

Date of Publication

Spring 6-5-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction




Gifted children -- Education (Elementary) -- Pacific Northwest -- Case studies, African Americans -- Education (Elementary) -- Pacific Northwest -- Case studies, Racially mixed people -- Education (Elementary) -- Pacific Northwest -- Case studies, Multicultural education -- Pacific Northwest -- Case studies, School children -- Attitudes



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 190 pages)


The underrepresentation of gifted Black and Biracial students is a pervasive problem in and of itself, and indicates a much larger struggle of disproportionality of Black and Biracial students who are not called upon or supported in efforts to meet their academic potential. Therefore, an evaluation of the inequity generated by gifted education is warranted. It is true that the majority of gifted programs are often predominantly White. Accordingly, Black and Biracial students who qualify for gifted programs may face unique challenges in their development of racial identity and their socio-emotional health.

Using ethnographic techniques, this case study explored the ways that Discovery School, a predominantly White gifted school (PWGS), addresses race. It asked how Black and Biracial students at Discovery School understood themselves as racial beings. The fundamental research questions that guided this study were: (1) how is race addressed at a PWGS, and (2) how does a student of color feel Otherness at a PWGS? The case study was designed, and findings were analyzed, through the theoretical lens of critical race theory.

Data was collected through several means, including interviews, surveys, direct observation, and email prompts. Interviews were conducted with four gifted students of color, three teachers, and three parents. Surveys were sent home for student participants and their parents to fill out together. Teachers and administrators were asked to complete two email interview questions. Throughout the data collection, I frequently observed students learning and playing at the school and recorded field notes.

Findings indicate that:

1. Talented and gifted students thrive in programs that are uniquely tailored to meet their advanced academic and cognitive needs.

2. Policies and inadequate communication act as barriers for gifted Black and Biracial students.

3. Within a positive educational community, racial microaggressions- including the silencing of racial dialogue and individual bullying- exist.

The results of this study suggest that Discovery School operates in ways that benefit the participants of the study. Overall, the student participants (and most parent participants) were satisfied with their experiences at Discovery School. Additionally, results indicate that Discovery School could strengthen their program with a commitment to diversifying the student population and implementing culturally responsive pedagogy and antiracist practices that change the consciousness of education professionals and offer support systems for gifted Black and Biracial students, and develop curriculum that is more reflective of students of color.


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