Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD

Committee Chair

Ingle, W. Kyle

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Carpenter, Bradley

Committee Member

Carpenter, Bradley

Committee Member

Immekus, Jason

Committee Member

Larson, Ann

Author's Keywords

school counselor; minority; low-income; diversity; advanced placement; recruitment


Numerous studies have been conducted that show the importance of diversifying Advanced Placement Courses. However, Griffin and Steen (2011) state that: Despite a vast body of literature that stresses the importance of school counselors in addressing inequities that exists in schools, few articles provide concrete strategies that school counselors can infuse in their practice. More research is warranted because many school counselors face barriers when trying to implement systemic change in the schools. (p. 76) This qualitative research study is based on a collective phenomenological case study of six participants (five Professional School Counselors and one Director of School Counselors) who are interviewed using narrative inquiry. This study seeks to answer the following research question: How do school counselors remove barriers for culturally diverse and low-income students by recruiting, retaining and supporting them in Advanced Placement (AP) courses? Three major themes emerged that show graduate school programs, professional school counselors, and other educational leaders ways that they can create diversified systems within the walls of their schools. These themes included Systemic Changes, Minority and Low-Income Specific Strategies, and Common Pitfalls to Avoid. An in-depth discussion of each theme gives graduate school programs, PSCs, and future educational leaders a tangible system that they may implement in order to increase minority and low-income student participation in Advanced Placement programs. This research was approached through a Critical Race Theory lens and works to liberate traditionally marginalized students while giving them access to a program that has the potential to positively impact their educations and futures.