School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Russell G. Yocum


African American Males, Black Males, Ecological Systems Theory, achievement gap, Social Constructivism, Ontology, faith-based private school


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study is to describe the experiences of African American males who graduated from faith-based schools in Virginia. At this stage in the research, faith-based schools will be generally defined as educational institutions that are “guided by missions that are informed and motivated by their faith convictions”. The theory guiding this study is Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory as it explores four environmental levels and how they each uniquely impact the development of an individual. The central question for this research is What are the experiences of African American males who graduated from faith-based private K-12 schools or high schools in Virginia? The participants included African American males who attended a faith-based private school from at minimum grades 10-12 and graduated from said school. Data was collected using face-to-face or online interviews, online focus groups, and reflective journal. As per Moustakas’ modified approach the data analysis will be conducted through coding, peer review, and enriched description. This research sought to reveal relevant information that can be utilized by educators and administrators in both private and public schools to improve the academic achievement of African American males. The experiences shared by the participants from this study will prove to be relevant to parents of African American males as they make educational decisions for their children by providing insight into their viewpoints of faith-based private schools.