Date of Award

Spring 4-2015

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Marta Baltodano

Second Advisor

Yvette V. Lapayese

Third Advisor

Jill Bickett


This qualitative case study explores student, parent, and teacher perceptions of school racial climate and its impact on students’ academic and personal lives at a charter middle school in South Los Angeles. The study also explores teacher handling of the impact of racial tensions at this school with a majority Latin@ student enrollment and a predominantly Black teaching staff. School climate refers to the perceived quality of interpersonal interactions among teachers, students, staff, and parents. A positive school climate is associated with increased academic achievement and decreased disciplinary problems. Conversely, schools wrought with interethnic conflict or a poor racial climate divert focus and resources away from student learning and toward chronic disciplinary problems and teacher attrition. This case study demonstrates how Black administrators handled displacement by a large immigrant Latin@ population by instituting a system of Black privilege to protect political and economic space. The massive immigration of Latin@s offered a critical opportunity for coalition building with Blacks. However, a competition-based framework emerged, rendering this case study a microcosm of missed opportunity in South Los Angeles and beyond.