Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Paul Michalec


Communication, Culturally relevant education, Equity, Relationships


An opportunity gap exists in the United States school system where students of color score lower on standardized tests and have fewer opportunities than their white counterparts. Culturally Relevant Education (CRE) theory attempts to close this gap, and is defined by Gloria Ladson-Billings (1995) as

Pedagogy that rests on three criteria or propositions: (a) Students must experience academic success; (b) students must develop and/or maintain cultural competence; and (c) students must develop a critical consciousness through which they challenge the status quo of the current social order (p. 160).

In short, CRE is the use of culture, rigor, and critical consciousness for students of color to achieve success in the classroom. This dissertation in practice examined the use of CRE in classrooms at a Colorado high school. A case study was developed through interviews, observations, and collecting lesson plans from teachers in each of the core subjects to identify and analyze how CRE is perceived and used in these classrooms.

Relationships, diversity, intention, and administrative support were themes that emerged from the data that correlate to CRE framework created from the work of Ladson-Billings and Gay. Additionally, the themes of communication, disposition, student engagement, assessment and teacher accountability were present in this study but not prominent in the literature.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Colleen Kopay


Received from ProQuest

File Format



English (eng)


169 pgs

File Size

2.2 MB