School of Education
Doctor of Education (EdD)
achievement gap, diversity, diversity committee, inclusiveness, school climate, school culture
Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education
Lindley, Lisa A., "Desiring Diversity: A Phenomenological Approach to Understanding the Experiences of K-12 Educators Who Volunteer for the District's Diversity Committees" (2015). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 1026.
In the United States, K-12 public school classrooms are becoming increasingly diverse in ethnicity, culture, language, exceptionalities, religion, family, socioeconomic status and political backgrounds. Achievement gaps between students in these diverse subgroups and typical White students have prompted educational leaders to identify strategies to improve academic performance across all subgroups. One area of focus in K-12 school districts has been on improving inclusiveness through the utilization of school diversity committees. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the experiences and perceptions of K-12 educators in their role as volunteers on a diversity committee at the All Inclusive School District (AISD, a pseudonym). AISD is a public school district consisting of 33 schools and is located in a large metropolitan suburb in the southeastern United States. Eight participants were selected who were K-12 educators who volunteered on the diversity committee at the same Title I school. Data collection was conducted through a series of interviews, observations, guided reflection surveys, and site documents. Five themes emerged through the use of Moustakas’ modified Seven Steps approach to data analysis. The themes were: (a) Ambassadors of diversity and inclusion, (b) bridge builders influenced by personal experiences, (c) the teacher becomes the student, (d) champions of the at-risk student, and (e) cultivators of an inclusive community of learners. Employing the data, the central questions and four sub-questions were answered in detail and summarized at the end of each narrative for the five themes. Textural and structural descriptions were integrated to construct the essence of participants’ experiences.