School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Jim Zabloski


Achievement Gap, Graduation, Hispanic Males, Minority, Student Retention


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to investigate the factors that contribute to the retention of urban, Hispanic high school male graduates in East Harlem, New York. Originated through the works by W. E. B. Du Bois (1968), Gloria Ladson-Billings (1998) and Derrick Bell (1992) pioneered Critical Race Theory (CRT), which reported that the United States Education system has historically failed to adequately provide access to all students. Hispanics continue to have the lowest rates of high school and college degree attainment. This study’s purpose was to address the phenomenon of low retention rates of urban, Hispanic males by identifying influences on the participants’ abilities to overcome family and non-family risk factors. For the purpose of this study, 10 participants were bounded by their socioeconomic status (SES), ethnicity, age, gender, residential address (residents of East Harlem, New York), and successful completion of high school. The following research questions guided the study: What factors do Hispanic adult male graduates indicate contributed to their successful completion of high school? How do Hispanic adult male graduates perceive the personal characteristics that helped them overcome their challenges to high school completion? How did relationships with teachers, families, churches and coaches assist Hispanic adult male graduates in achieving their goals? Data collection consisted of informal, semi-structured, audio-recorded individual interviews, a focus group, and document analysis. Through the voices of the participants, relationships, effective support structures and social-emotional support emerged as themes. The results of this study will potentially assist policymakers and educators in identifying the urgency of providing systemic reform to increase achievement of Hispanic males.