Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Glenn R. Penny


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore perceptions of gifted and talented African American former high school students who are alumni of an exemplar STEAM program in a major urban city on the eastern seaboard with culturally relevant instruction regarding curricular and instructional practices for academic success. The conceptual framework was Ladson-Billings’ constructivist theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. Three research questions guided this study. Through a basic qualitative research design with a typological approach, semi-structured virtual interviews with 10 participants were conducted. Emergent themes from data collection were feelings of isolation due to uninvolved teachers and peers, cultural unawareness due to inadequate cultural education at home, positive experiences from motivational teachers and culturally uplifting instructional strategies, academic achievement, increased cultural understanding, and community building through the arts. Findings indicated that gifted and talented African American high school students achieve academically when instructional strategies include the arts, reinforce knowledge of self and others, build community, provide encouragement, and include real-world opportunities for success. This study may promote positive social change by altering the design of instruction for gifted and talented African American students.