Date of Conferral







Katherine Emmons


Elementary school students may display uncivil behaviors that affect peer interactions, and school or community climate. Some middle and high school leaders have implemented programs to improve student interactions by enhancing student leadership skills, character education, and students’ understanding of civic education. However, few programs combine these goals with aspects of culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) in elementary schools. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explain the motivating factors, challenges, and rationales of school administrators and leaders who implemented a student civil leadership program in a K-6 elementary school and to understand how the program was established, how it operated, the extent to which CRP was facilitated through instruction, and how students benefited. The conceptual framework was based on Allport, Ewald, and Ladson-Billings’s ideas of similar and dissimilar group interactions. Data were collected through interviews of school leaders, observations of program facilitators, and artifacts. Data were analyzed using initial and simultaneous coding, which led to the development of 4 key findings: the implementation of the GCP program was due to trust and consensus among stakeholders, the curriculum bore resemblance to CRP in implementation, instruction promoted civil leadership in students through the design of program activities, and establishing the program fostered community support. The findings of the study indicated that positive social change may result from continued and trusting collaborations between school and community leaders, particularly when they are aimed to implement civil leadership programs with effective programming and an underlying foundation of CRP.