Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Christopher Atkinson


The purpose of this single case study, at one high school in the Midwest region of United States, was to examine after-school enrichment programs and their connections to improving academic achievement for African American (AA) male students. The central question of what factors in structured after-school enrichment programs (ASEPs) contribute to academic achievement for AA males was studied using social learning theory and punctuated equilibrium as the theoretical guide. Data were collected via face-to-face interviews and surveys administered to 10 administrators, 10 parents, and 10 teachers who met the criteria for inclusion in the study. Data collection also included classroom observations of teachers’ attitudes toward interactions with students during ASEP activities. Data were inductively coded and then subjected to a thematic analysis leading to 4 themes including continuing learning opportunities for teachers; building student confidence and student motivation; recognizing that communication is a central component of ASEP; and providing policymakers with data needed for decision making. Key findings may have implications for informing public policymakers, as well as school and district leaders, on issues related to after-school enrichment programs and how they may help African American male students to be more successful in school and in life. The positive social change implications stemming from this study include recommendations to policy makers to address policy and funding issues involving; professional development of teachers; improvement in communication with parents; and enhancement of ASEP activities and programs.