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Changing middle school students' attitudes, beliefs and behaviors towards higher education through enrichment programs

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Title:
Changing middle school students' attitudes, beliefs and behaviors towards higher education through enrichment programs
Creator:
Martinez, Domic Floyd ( author )
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
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English
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1 electronic file (101 pages). : ;

Thesis/Dissertation Information

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Doctorate ( Doctor of Education)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
School of Education and Human Development, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Leadership of educational equality

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Subjects / Keywords:
Hispanic American students -- Education ( lcsh )
Hispanic American students -- Social conditions ( lcsh )
Hispanic American students -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Abstract:
President Barack Obama's Promise Neighborhood Program began in 2011 with the objective of infusing underserved communities with the beliefs and opportunities necessary to prepare youth to be academically ready to go to college. The University of Colorado's proposal, Northwest Promise Neighborhood (NWPN): Ensuring Educational Access, Cradle to Career, set goals to provide services supporting children and families to overcome barriers in achieving higher education. The NWPN targeted area is comprised of twelve Denver, Colorado neighborhoods, four public housing family developments, and thirteen focus schools. The focus of this study is on Skinner Middle School, a NWPN school, which is comprised of residents ranging from upper class to below poverty. The two largest demographic groups at Skinner are Latino/a students and those eligible for free or reduced price lunch, and data shows that these two groups have the lowest college-going rates. However, Skinner's Neighborhood Center has developed academic enrichment programs that have assisted these students in creating future realistic goals, whether through higher education or not. The enrichment module used for this study is the Neighborhood Center's College 4 Y.O.U Program where 6th, 7th, and 8th graders meet weekly to learn about college processes, visit local colleges, and network with college personnel. Using a mixed method research approach I examined how Skinner's College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program has influenced its participants' attitude, beliefs and/or behaviors toward higher education. Multiple methods of data collection (i.e., student survey, parent/adult sponsor focus groups and participating College 4 Y.O.U. student focus groups) were summarized using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. This study has demonstrated that the College 4 Y.O.U. program has afforded participants the opportunities to develop meaningful relationships that will assist with their future successes. These relationships have positively influenced their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors toward higher education.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Colorado Denver. Education
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographic references.
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System requirements: Adobe Reader.
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Domic Floyd Martinez.

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University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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900472659 ( OCLC )
ocn900472659

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Full Text
CHANGING MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS ATTITUDES, BELIEFS AND BEHAVIORS TOWARDS HIGHER EDUCATION THROUGH ENRICHMENT
PROGRAMS
by
DOMINIC FLOYD MARTINEZ B.A., University of Wyoming, 1999 M.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2010
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education
Leadership of Educational Equality Program
2014


This thesis for the Doctor of Education degree by Dominic Floyd Martinez has been approved for the Leadership for Educational Equality Program by
Shelley Zion, Advisor & Co-Chair Alan Davis, Co-Chair Raul Cardenas
May 1, 2014
n


Martinez, Dominic Floyd (Ed.D., Leadership for Educational Equity)
Changing Middle School Students Attitudes, Beliefs and Behaviors towards Higher Education through Enrichment Programs
Thesis directed by Executive Director Shelley Zion and Associate Professor Alan Davis.
ABSTRACT
President Barack Obamas Promise Neighborhood Program began in 2011 with the objective of infusing underserved communities with the beliefs and opportunities necessary to prepare youth to be academically ready to go to college. The University of Colorados proposal, Northwest Promise Neighborhood (NWPN): Ensuring Educational Access, Cradle to Career, set goals to provide services supporting children and families to overcome barriers in achieving higher education. The NWPN targeted area is comprised of twelve Denver, Colorado neighborhoods, four public housing family developments, and thirteen focus schools. The focus of this study is on Skinner Middle School, a NWPN school, which is comprised of residents ranging from upper class to below poverty. The two largest demographic groups at Skinner are Latino/a students and those eligible for free or reduced price lunch, and data shows that these two groups have the lowest college-going rates. However, Skinners Neighborhood Center has developed academic enrichment programs that have assisted these students in creating future realistic goals, whether through higher education or not. The enrichment module used for this study is the Neighborhood Centers College 4 Y.O.U Program where 6th, 7th, and 8th graders meet weekly to learn about college processes, visit local colleges, and network with college personnel. Using a mixed method research approach I examined how Skinners College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program has influenced its participants attitude, beliefs and/or


behaviors toward higher education. Multiple methods of data collection (i.e., student survey, parent/adult sponsor focus groups and participating College 4 Y.O.U. student focus groups) were summarized using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. This study has demonstrated that the College 4 Y.O.U. program has afforded participants the opportunities to develop meaningful relationships that will assist with their future successes. These relationships have positively influenced their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors toward higher education.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Shelley Zion and Alan Davis
IV


SYNOPSIS
In 2012, Shelley Zion, Ph.D., faculty member and executive director in School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver, submitted a federally funded Promise Neighborhood grant proposal entitled, Northwest Promise Neighborhood (NWPN): Ensuring Educational Access, Cradle to Career. This proposal focused on the underserved communities and schools in the Northwest Denver area with efforts .to provide wraparound services that support all children in the target area to achieve in school, college, and career, and provide families access to the services, information, and resources they need to overcome barriers and support their children^ success (Zion, 2012, p. 15).
The fundamental goal of the NWPN is that all community members have equal access to education and provisions for a successful transition to college and careers. The current problem is that schools and districts are becoming more segregated over time, and wealthier communities continue to have better educational opportunities and resources than those of lower-income and diverse communities. This problem stems from numerous reasons ranging from less mentoring and networking opportunities among distressed communities to low retention and graduation rates of diverse student populations due to lack of community, school, and familial support.
As Colorados largest and fastest-growing minority population; the percentage of Latino/a high school graduates that have attended college compared to the percentage of white high school graduates is significantly lower. In 2009, the Latino/a high school graduation rates was 57% compared to 82% for white students, even though the Latino/a graduation rates increased in 2012-2013 to 65%, while the white student graduation rates remained the same at 82%, there remains an a 17% graduation rate disparities gap
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between these two groups. Nationally, Colorado has the second greatest disparity of college attainment between whites and Latino/a (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2009-2011). As indicated in this studys data, there is a wide educational disparities gap that needs to be addressed nationally and locally. It was expected that a community endeavor such as the NWPN could monumentally assist in closing the educational disparities gap in Colorado.
Even though the proposal was not funded, Skinner Middle School (Skinner), one of the thirteen schools focus schools mentioned in the NWPN proposal, was selected as this studys research site. More specifically, the College 4 Y.O.U. (Young Outstanding Urbanites) Pre-Collegiate Program located in the Neighborhood Center (Center) at Skinner was chosen as the study site for multiple reasons; a) their enduring early intervention college exposure programs, b) the schools location, c) the demographics of the student population based upon ethnicity and income, d) the increase in the 2012 Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) scores, e) personal and working relationship with the Center staff and f) the existing relationship that Skinner and the Center has with the NWPN proposal authors.
Knowing that middle school is a crucial time in an adolescents life and college track planning needs to occur before the 8th grade (Trilling, 2010). The College 4 Y.O.U. program, which serves diverse and underserved 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students and their parents, play a vital role in connecting their participants to academic and college networking opportunities. This is done through college visits and summer programs, where participants learn about application processes, areas of study, requirements for college enrollment and familiarity with college life.
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Research has shown that even though enrichment programs have served as the catalyst that sparks a students interest in higher education, it is simply not enough. Applying St. John, Hu & Fishers (2011) Academic Capital Formation (ACF) theory to the study as the conceptual framework, I was able to gain insight into the factors that influence the interactions and relationships developed between students, parents and the College 4 Y.O.U. program. Simultaneously, I was able to establish an understanding on how these factors influence the students attitudes and beliefs about higher education. In their research on pre-collegiate enrichment programs they argue that college going is not only about human capital, individual knowledge and skills. It is influenced by the resources provided to one by his or hers social network (social capital) and the acquisition of skills gained by one over time (cultural capital) (Dumais & Ward, 2010).
Building upon ACF, I used a fully mixed method sequential equal status research approach to examine how the College 4 Y.O.U. program has influenced its participants attitudes, beliefs and behaviors towards higher education. Data was collected using a student survey, focus groups with students and parents, and an interview with the coordinator of the program.
The finding showed that both parents and students had overwhelmingly expressed that positive changes have occurred in their homes with regard to college education because of their interaction with the program. Although the College 4 Y.O.U. program is not the sole influential factor contributing to attitude and behavioral changes toward higher education, 76% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that they are more confident in believing they could go to college because of their involvement in the program. When asked, what has been most valuable about the program, the responses


have been learning about colleges and visiting them. Several parents stated that they decided to send their children to Skinner because of the Pre-Collegiate program that is offered. Barriers that can be foreseen are financial support and leadership changes.
This study has demonstrated that enrichment programs, including College 4 Y.O.U. can bring about behavioral changes that assist in solving complex problems, like changing students attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors toward higher education by engaging them in the process earlier in their school years. By engaging with these students, parents/adult sponsors, and communities, institutions of higher education can develop a better understanding of how to provide these students with the right support, both academically and emotionally, to be successful at their institution.
vm


To my family and friends from the Southside of Rawlins, Wyoming.
It really does take a village to raise a child!
Thank you for having a hand in shaping me into the person that I am today.
IX


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This dissertation has been a culmination of my passion and desire for helping young diverse students from underserved communities achieve turning their dreams into reality. A special thanks goes to Michelle Koyama, Dirk Boden, Brittnee Kidder-Davis, Ron Gallegos, Sandy Baca-Sandoval, College 4 Y.O.U. participants and their parents at Skinner Middle School and the Neighborhood Center. Thank you for allowing me to invade your space. Your dedication to serving diverse students is incomparable. You bring HOPE to these students.
Thank you to the University of Colorado Denver School of Education and Human Developments faculty and staff, for the support and assistance that I received. Especially, thank you to Dr. Shelley Zion and Dr. Alan Davis for their undivided support and leadership. Without them I would not have been able to get through the program and dissertation process. Thanks for inspiring me to step outside my comfort zone. Shout out to my cohort sisters, Terri, Kim, Rebecca and Lisa, for all their support and encouragement. Our cohort bond will never be broken. To the dissertation committee, Dr. Zion, Dr. Davis and Dr. Raul Cardenas, thank you for taking time out of your schedule to support and mentor me. I am grateful to have you in my life as colleagues and friends!
To the Office of Inclusion and Outreach staff, it means a lot to know that I have a group of friends that will always have my back. Vicky, Christian, Medhat, and Bridget, you are truly four of the most amazing people I know, and I will forever be indebted to you. Bridget, thank you for constant feedback and tutoring. Vicky, my prayers and love are with you during these difficult times.
Finally, with the support of my family, both immediate and extended, I have been
x


able to manage all my responsibilities and demands of fatherhood, being a husband, being a full time student and work with ease and confidence. Thank you, Mom, Dad, Consuelo and Jeanette for watching over the kids while I was in class/studying and for always cheering me on. Mom and Dad, thank you for being amazing parents, friends and role models. I truly owe everything to you. It is hard to believe that the little boy who stuttered for years made something of his life.
Foremost, thanks and love goes to my beautiful wife Amber and three amazing children, Tiegan Cho, Teya Consuelo and Kiyoshi Benjamin. Thank you for understanding, supporting and sacrificing the past three years, so I could turn my dream into a reality. I would not be the person I am today without the love and support I receive from you all. No words can express what you all mean to me. I love you all. I hope I make you proud!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTERS
I. INTRODUCTION..........................................................1
Background.............................................................2
Problem Statement......................................................4
State and National Context.............................................6
Early Intervention.....................................................9
II. RESEARCH QUESTION.................................................. 10
Skinner Middle School.................................................11
The Neighborhood Center...............................................12
III. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK...............................................16
Human Capital.........................................................18
Cultural Capital......................................................18
Social Capital........................................................22
IV. RESEARCH METHOD.....................................................24
Survey................................................................24
Focus Groups..........................................................25
Interview with the Coordinator........................................25
Coding and Categories.................................................25
V. FINDINGS............................................................27
Quantitative Approach.................................................27
Qualitative Approach..................................................33
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Summary of the Findings...............................................37
VI. IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS....................................39
Academic Capital Formation............................................39
Partnerships and Collaborations.......................................40
Leadership...........................................................41
Funding Resources.....................................................43
Family Involvement....................................................44
Continuous Research...................................................45
VII. CONCLUSION.........................................................46
REFERENCES..............................................................48
APPENDIX
A. RESEARCH METHOD......................................................53
Sampling.............................................................54
Data Collection.......................................................55
Data Analysis.........................................................57
Quantitative Approach.................................................58
Qualitative Approach..................................................58
Study Limitations.....................................................59
Survey...............................................................61
B. ANALYTICAL WORK......................................................66
Data Collection Schedule: Survey and Focus Groups.....................68
Codes and Description.................................................74
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C. PROBLEM STATEMENT......................................................77
Literature Review.......................................................78
State and Nation........................................................79
Skinner Middle School...................................................81
The Neighborhood Center.................................................83
Enrichment Programs.....................................................84
College 4 Y.O.U.........................................................86
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CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people that prepare for it today (Malcolm X).
In an effort to close the educational disparity gap among underserved and distressed communities, the Obama administration announced in 2011 the first round of Promise Neighborhood program grants, which is based on Geoffrey Canadas Harlem Childrens Zone (Dervarics, 2011). Influenced by the success of the Harlem Childrens Zones cradle-to-career" services, the Promise Neighborhood programs objectives are to infuse underserved and distressed communities with the beliefs, opportunities and mechanisms necessary to prepare youth to be academically ready to go to college (Dervarics, 2011). By developing realistic plans to create a variety of solutions that have the potential to significantly improve the educational and developmental outcomes of children and youth in an underserved and distressed neighborhood, the Promise Neighborhood program hopes to impact future generations through community collaborations.
This approach does not just include K-12 institutions of education, but the communities in which these students reside as well. The Promise Neighborhood program requires that housing, human services, healthcare, community non-profits, early childhood development centers, K-12 institutions and institutions of higher education partner to provide wrap-around services that would not only academically prepare youth, but would also support youth and families physically, mentally, and emotionally to meet
1


the rigors of higher education (Anderson, 2011). A concern with the Promise Neighborhood program is that there is limited funding, thus making it impossible to serve every underserved and distressed community in the United States.
Background
In an attempt to leverage some of the Promise Neighborhood funds and development community partnerships, Shelley Zion, Ph.D., faculty member and executive director of Continuing Education and Professional Development at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education and Human Development, convened a group of leaders from the Northwest Denver area to begin discussing the social issues that are impacting the youth from this area. This group included early childhood, K-12 and higher education educators, community leaders, non-profit organizations, healthcare organizations, housing authorities, and other policymaking originators. The first outcome was the creation of an inventory list of community resources that could be utilized to assist the youth in the Northwest Denver Neighborhoods.
The other outcome was the submission of a Promise Neighborhood Grant Proposal in 2012, with Zion serving as the Principal Investigator (PI). The proposal was titled Northwest Promise Neighborhood (NWPN): Ensuring Educational Access, Cradle to Career. The goal of this initiative was .. .to provide wraparound services that support all children in the target area to achieve in school, college, and career, and provide families access to the services, information, and resources they need to overcome barriers and support their children^ success (Zion, 2012, p. 15). The NWPN targeted area is comprised of twelve neighborhoods, four public housing family developments, and thirteen focus schools. A significant challenge in these neighborhoods is the inability of
2


service agencies to combine this cradle to career methodology into a seamless practice (Zion, 2012). The NWPN area is bordered on the west by Sheridan Boulevard, on the north by 52nd Avenue, on the east by 1-25 and on the south by 6th Avenue. Even though this proposal was not funded in 2012, there have been signs of collective action in these neighborhoods. This process has brought community organizations, schools, and community members together to investigate ways in which they can improve the conditions of their neighborhoods.
This study aligns with the goals of the NWPN grant, which envisions that all members of the community will have access to great schools that provide the necessary tools for students to successfully transition to college and a career (Zion, 2012). For the purpose of this study, the College 4 Y.O.U. (Young Outstanding Urbanites) Pre-Collegiate Program that is hosted through the Neighborhood Center (Center) at Skinner Middle School (Skinner) was selected as the study site. Skinner is located in the northwest region of the Denver Public School District. The population of this area is 76,038, with over 17,000 living below the poverty line. Nearly 80% of students attending Denver Public Schools fall below the poverty line (Denver Public School, 2013; Piton Foundation, 2010).
This area is unique because income levels of those residing within the Skinner boundaries range from upper class to below poverty. As Zion (2012) indicates, this allows aggregated data to mask the needs in the community, and making it difficult to identify those families who need support (p.3). This complexity creates both possibilities and challenges for those living in the area. With the influx of upper-class families moving into the neighborhood, this may lead to influential community members
3


using their resources and social capital to impact the schools and the community, resulting in gentrification. However, gentrification makes it harder for lower income community members to afford to live in their own community.
Problem Statement
Even though the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson separate but equal doctrine, there have not been many changes to our education system that guarantees equal education for all (Kozol, 1991; Espenshade & Radford, 2009). Darling-Hammond (2011) argues that schools have become more segregated and less adequately resourced then quarter of a century ago. She continues, the stark disparities in access to high-quality education at the elementary and secondary levels translate into unequal access to higher education for low-income and minority students (Darling-Hammond, 2011, p. 37). The truth is that wealthier communities have better educational opportunities than those of lower-income and diverse communities. This has resulted in fewer resources available for students from lower-income and diverse communities.
This problem, which we have been battling for decades, stems from a number of inequalities shared by those who do not have the power in todays society. Some of these inequalities that hinder populations from underserved and distressed communities are perpetual lack of preparation, access, networking, and mentorship for many students to enter higher education. Several components contribute to the problem, including (a) urban high schools, which often lack resources to adequately prepare their underrepresented students for institutions of higher education (Lewis & Manno, 2011),
(b) policymakers, who assume that everyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps,
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which results in decisions being made with these assumption at the core, (c) familial support, where family or significant adult involvement at home and school is lacking in regards to academic achievement (Tierney & Auerbach, 2005), and (d) higher education, where the problem of access, academic and personal support, retention and graduation of a diverse student population persists after the few are admitted among the many. This can be seen by how colleges and universities have still not succeeded in creating welcoming campus climates where lower-income and diverse students still feel alienated (Winkle-Wagner & Locks, 2014).
According to Duncan-Andrade (2008), our society is built on a pyramid structure with no room at the top for the masses:
The fact that opportunity exists (currently defined as all children having access to public schools) helps maintain the rhetoric of a democratic and meritocratic society.. .ultimately benefiting society as a whole by rewarding the most deserving. And it just so happens that the overwhelming majority of those who benefit most from this sorting process are those who look, talk, think, and act most like those who already have power (p.4).
Thus, the people that benefit the least from this sorting process are the ones that need it the most. This produces little to no upward mobility for the communities and people that are in need of it the most, resulting in a continuance cycle that haunts lower-income and diverse student into their adult lives, where they will most likely be employed in positions that are least desirable and lacks upward socioeconomic mobility (Duncan-Andrade & Morrell, 2008).
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State and National Context
For the purpose of this section, attention has been placed upon the largest demographic groups that have been recipients of inadequate educational opportunities. Specifically, the two largest demographic groups at Skinner are Latino/a students and those eligible for free or reduced price lunch; these groups overlap in most cases at Skinner. By examining national and local high school graduation rates, postsecondary enrollment and college attainment data, it is easy to notice that the educational disparities gap is continually widening.
Graduation rates. In 2009 the Colorado high school graduation rates (74.5%) were similar to the national rates (70%) with the exception of Maine, Vermont, and New Jersey, whose high school graduation rates were above 86% (National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, 2009). Since than Colorados high school graduation rates have increased 1.5% to 76% in 2012-2013. However, there still remains a disparity between Latino/a students and white students graduation rates. Latino/a graduation rates in 2009 were at 57% compared to 82% for white students, while Latino/a graduation rates increased in 2012-2013 to 65%, white student graduation rates remained the same at 82%. Even though there was an increase in Latino/a graduation rates, a 17% graduation rate gap remains between Latino/a and white student.
Postsecondary enrollment. In 2011, 65% of Colorado high school graduates were white, while Latino/a accounted for 25 % of high school graduates. Of the graduating high school seniors in the State of Colorado 57% enrolled in public postsecondary institutions in 2011 and of that 57%, only 28% are enrolled in 4-year Colorado institutions of higher education, while 12% went to out-of-state institutions
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(Colorado Department of Higher Education, 2013). These numbers are low compared nationally, yet the numbers are even worse for Latino/a students (According to the Legislative Report on The Postsecondary Progress and Success of High School Graduates report, 2013), While Hispanic students made up one fourth of the high school graduating class, they account for less than one fifth of the students who went to college in the fall of 2011 (p.9), compared to the 71% of white students that enrolled in college. Of the Colorado students that enrolled into college right after high school graduation, 37% received Federal Pell grants, which are need-based grants to low-income undergraduate. Within ethnic groups, 57 % of those that received Federal Pell grants were Latino/a, compared to 28% white.
Making matters worse, the largest percentage of students that do not enroll in institutions of higher education are those that receive free or reduced price lunch. The percentage of college enrollment rates for this population has steadily declined a 9.6% decrease between 2009 and 2011 (Legislative Report on the Postsecondary Progress and Success of High School Graduates report, 2013, p. 9). However, as indicated in the Legislative Report on the Postsecondary Progress and Success of High School Graduates report (2013) Latino/a students are most likely to receive free or reduced price lunch and those who are eligible have the lowest college-going rate at 35.6%. This means that, nearly 52% of all Hispanic high school graduates in 2011 received free or reduced price lunch (p. 11). These numbers indicate that well over half of the Latino/a students graduating from high schools in Colorado will not enroll in college after graduation.
College attainment. Nationally, Colorado has the second greatest disparity of college attainment between whites and Latino/a next to Nebraska (U.S. Census Bureau,
7


American Community Survey (ACS), 2009-2011). This information is depicted in the bar graph below (Figure 1).
Difference in College Attainment Between Whites and Hispanics 25 44 Year-Olds
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) 3-Year Estimates Public Use Microdata Sample 2009-2011
Figure 1. Difference in College Attainment Between Whites and Hispanic
So, as indicated in the data, there is a wide educational disparities gap that needs to be addressed nationally. In particular at a local level, Latino/a students constitute Colorado's largest and fastest-growing minority population. The percentage of Latino/a high school graduates that have attended college compared to the percentage of white high school graduates is significantly lower. As the population of Latino/a continues to increase in Colorado, there is a chance that high school graduation rates, postsecondary enrollment and college attainment between Latino/a and white students will become significantly larger unless a solution to these issues are resolved. Along with the issues surrounding
8


graduation rates, postsecondary enrollment and college attainment, there are other systematic issues that need to be addressed including high school dropout rates and access for undocumented populations.
Early Intervention
Even though data has shown that students that are Latino/a and are on free or reduced lunch have the lowest college-going rates, there has been consensus among researchers that early intervention enrichment programs increase the chances and choices of postsecondary education for its participants (Chambers & Deller, 2011). However, it is a matter of achieving the right mix of program components, whether, it is networking, role models, college visit opportunities, or academic support. One such early intervention program has been examined for this study. The College 4 Y.O.U program at Skinner was developed to assist students by encouraging them to look towards the future, whether it is higher education or not.
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CHAPTER II
RESEARCH QUESTION
Building upon the research that early exposure to college increases the possibility of college enrollment and graduation rates (Loza, 2003; Gullatt & Jan, 2003), this study examined whether students attitudes, beliefs and behaviors toward higher education are influenced by their involvement in the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program at Skinner offered through the Center. According to Trilling (2010), middle school is a crucial time when students grow their hopes and commitments for success in school, in future work, in family and community lifeor not (p. 9). College-track planning needs to occur before 8th grade in order to develop and maintain college aspirations (Tierney, Corwin & Colyar, 2005). By expanding efforts to middle school students, institutions of higher education can bring positive experiences in the areas of education and higher education, which will ultimately enhance the likelihood they seek a higher education degree in the future.
By connecting with institutions of higher education, Skinner and the Center access resources, mentorships, and internships for their students benefit (Read, 2011). In their research, Barlow and Villarejo (2004) found that partnerships and collaborations between K-12 institutions, institutions of higher education, and community collaborations are vital to the success of enrichment programs at both an institutional level and an external level. By increasing the amount of time underserved students spend on a college campus earlier in life, graduation rates of these populations should be enhanced, while providing future career or schooling options for them to pursue.
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Skinner was chosen as the study site for multiple reasons; a) their enduring early intervention college exposure programs, b) the schools location, c) the demographics of the student population based upon ethnicity and income, d) the increase in the 2012 Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) scores, e) personal and working relationship with the Center staff and f) the existing relationship that Skinner and the Center has with the NWPN proposal authors.
Skinner Middle School
Built in 1922 as a junior high, Skinner has transformed into a 21st century middle school that consists of 6th, 7th and 8th grade levels directed at preparing all students for college entrance instead of just getting them ready to move on to high school. Currently there are 372 students that attend Skinner (Denver Public Schools, 2013). Of the 372 students, 81.5% are on free or reduced price lunch and 79.8% are considered ethnic minority. The student body population comprises of 71% Latino students, which is the largest group, 20% White students, 3% African American students, 1% Asian American students and 2% American Indian students (Denver Public Schools, 2013).
Denver public schools performance framework. Denver Public Schools uses a five-color School Performance Framework (SPF) rating that takes into account a variety of factors, including how a school supports academic growth, academic proficiency, college readiness and family/parent satisfaction (Denver Public Schools School Performance Framework). The five-color rating ranges from red (accredited on probation) to blue (distinguished) (Appendix C).
Under the leadership of principal Michelle Koyama, Skinner has gone from an
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orange school (Accredited on Priority Watch) to a green school (Meets Expectations). This means that Skinner has circumvented being deemed a turn around school, in which the school would have been forced to close for a year while the district restructured curriculum with new leadership and teachers in an effort to improve test scores. Instead, Skinner had the highest net median growth percentile of all traditional middle schools in Denver Public Schools on the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) (Skinner Middle School, 2014). TCAP is Colorados standards-based assessment
designed to provide a picture of student performance to schools, districts, educators, parents and the community. From 2011 to 2012 Skinner saw the 7th grade math proficiency increase from 18.7% to 33% for a total increase 14%. During the same period, the percent of students proficient in reading and in writing both increase around 10% (Colorado Department of Education 2014). In comparison to other Denver Public Schools 6th and 7th grade students, Skinner students had a higher proficiency in math, reading, and writing than the district average (Skinner Middle School, 2013). This accomplishment is significant, considering that research indicates most students with similar backgrounds are struggling academically and not succeeding as well as the students at Skinner (Duncan-Andrade & Ernest Morrell, 2008).
The Neighborhood Center
Serving as the hub for enrichment programs at Skinner, the mission of the Center is to provide students and families access to a diverse range of out-of-school time programming intended to meet the needs of Skinner students and the Northwest Denver community, through academic support, high school readiness, STEM, athletics, college awareness, and project-based learning (Skinner Middle School, 2013). The Center is a
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nonprofit grant-funded program in the Department of Extended Learning, a branch of the Denver Public Schools. The Center was first established at Horace Mann Middle School in 1997 and was moved to Skinner in 2005. The Center hosts a number of student activities (enrichment programs) including After School Programming, Pre-Collegiate Summer Programs, Student Organizations, Club Sports, Adult G.E.D. Courses for Spanish speakers, Family Cooking and Health Courses, Free Flu Shot Clinics, Food Bank for low-income families, Science Fair Programs, and tutoring. These enrichment programs offered at Skinner are providing academic enrichment, personal support and research experiences that can substantially improve the retention of underrepresented minority students (Barlow and Villarejo, 2004).
A key component of enrichment programs has been developing a network of institutions of higher education and professional experts to serve as advisors and mentors to program participants. Setting high expectation for these students, with the means to accomplish their goals by eliminating or minimizing barriers, should be a joint effort between the students, parents, and school personnel (McDonough, 2005). With the support of the Center, Skinner has been able to develop collaboration with outside entities that have provided the students, families, and community with opportunities and mechanisms that prepare youth to be academically ready to succeed in the future.
Barlow and Villarejo (2004) assert that the substantial investment of resources required to mount such comprehensive programs is an investment well spent and should be continued (p. 877). Even though it is still early to confirm if Skinners investment has resulted in increase college attendance, the participants of the College 4 Y.O.U. program have been equipped with the skills that should make their transition into higher education
13


simpler. The resources offered at the Center are free not only for students, but for families and the surrounding community in the Northwest Denver area as well. The Center has taken a proactive approach to engage parents in afterschool activities, community outreach, and pipeline programs, which fosters intellectual development and understanding of the nature of scientific research and teaches parents how to help their children succeed in higher education (Sanders & Lewis, 2005). These approaches to enhancing academic achievement are but a few of the opportunities in hopes of increasing access and persistence in higher education for underserved and distressed students.
College 4 Y.O .U. Modeled after the University of Colorado Pre-Collegiate Development Program (PCDP) that was established in 1988, the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program has been the Centers signature program the last five years since the architect of the PCDP retired from the University of Colorado and began volunteering at the Center. The College 4 Y.O.U. was created to motivate and prepare first generation, low-income and ethnic minority students from Skinner to successfully complete high school on a timely basis and possess the necessary skills to successfully enter and graduate from a college or university of their choice. The College 4 Y.O.U. program offers students the opportunity to engage in a wide range of pre-college activities throughout the academic year and summer. Students participating in this comprehensive pre-collegiate program meet every Friday afternoon after school to engage in college prep workshops. Once a month during the academic year, the students, parents and program director visit one area college campus during the academic year to learn about college enrollment processes and what each college has to offer. During these visits students are
14


provided the opportunity to network with college personnel. Students can also participate in five different summer camps where they spend three to four days at an area college or university, getting a taste of campus life and enjoying hand-on workshops taught by college professors.
The ages of the participants range from 11 years old to 14 years old. There are currently 44 students that participate in the College 4 Y.O.U. program. Of those 44 participants, 48% are male and 52% are female. The ethnic breakdown is 59% Latino, 7% American Indian, and 34% white (Neighborhood Center, 2014).
15


CHAPTER III
CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
According to Gullatt and Jan (2003), providing only pre-collegiate programs and enrichment programs is not enough to raise college enrollment rates. Even though it has been projected that offering these opportunities will spark students interest in higher education, research shows that this is simply not enough. In order to serve students from an underserved and distressed community, it is essential to understand some of the underlying forces that impact first generation, low income, and ethnic minority students.
The framework for this study combines theories of human, cultural, and social capital into one conceptual framework, known as Academic Capital Formation (ACF). ACF examines the ways in which a student gains academic, social and financial access into college. Unlike some of the other capitals that depend solely on one factor, ACF is made up of many different factors, which connect ones financial background, social networking, and academic preparation (Winkle-Wagner & Locks, 2014). In their research on pre-collegiate enrichment programs that were geared toward first generation, low-income and ethnic minority students, St. John, Hu & Fisher (2011) theorize that college going is not only about human capital, individual knowledge and skills. It is influenced by the resources provided to one by his or hers social network (social capital) and the acquisition of skills gained by one over time (cultural capital) (Dumais & Ward, 2010).
Applying ACF to the study, I have been able to gain insight into the factors that influence the interactions and relationships developed between the students and the College 4 Y.O.U. program. Simultaneously, I was able to establish an understanding of
16


how these factors influence the students attitudes and beliefs about higher education. St. John and colleagues academic capital formation framework (Figure 2) illustrates the combined social processes and pattern transformation that engage students in overcoming barriers. These processes include easing concerns about cost, supportive networks in schools and communities, navigation of systems, and trustworthy information. Adding to their ACF framework (St. John, Hu & Fisher, 2011), I show that through intervention (i.e. enrichment programs, mentoring, and academic support) students beliefs, behaviors and attitudes towards higher education can be influenced.
r
Q.Utcoms.gj
"\
Attitude, beliefs and/or behavior changed or influenced
Increase in recruitment of diverse populations to higher education (Access)
Increase in colege diversity
Institutional culture change
Impact Northwest Denver Area
V J
Figure 2. Social Processes Integral to Academic Capital Formation
Expounding on the human, cultural, and social capital theories, I examined how each of
these theories play into, influence and effect the students attitude, behaviors and beliefs
toward higher education after engaging in the College 4 Y.O.U. program.
17


Human Capital
The premise of human capital is having the ability to consider options when making rational decisions, which stems largely from econometric research that was conducted in the 1960s (Winkle-Wagner, 2010). It is the ability to make choices based upon the gained information and knowledge one acquires overtime (i.e. competencies, social and personality attributes and cognitive abilities). According to Coleman (1988), human capital is created by changes in persons that bring about skills and capabilities that make them able to act in new ways (p. 100). The skills and competencies learned and attained will expand and develop, becoming more efficient and more productive when practiced and over time.
In relations to the College 4 Y.O.U. program, one of the major objectives is for the participants and their parents to develop and acquire the skills and insight that are needed and required to set attainable academic goals. College 4 Y.O.U. provides these opportunities through college visits, information session, tutoring opportunities and mentorship. These opportunities provide participants insight into deciding whether earning a college degree is more lucrative and beneficial than the time and cost spent attending college. Does the time and cost spent attaining a college degree produce greater returns including higher earnings, better jobs, or upward mobility (St. John, Hu, & Fisher). However, essential to human capital is human agency, which is taking action toward a particular goal or result. It is up to the participants to decide what actions will be taken based on their new skills and knowledge gained.
Cultural Capital
As originally theorized by Bourdieu and Passeron (1977), cultural capital consists
18


of a set of skills, habits, or behavioral repertoires that was established by the dominant classes as standards of functioning in society. These set of standards determined how goods/services were allocated, which lead to or constitute high social status, for example admission to the best schools, the highest educational tracks, fellowships, degrees and honors (Anderson, 2012). They argued upper-class monopolization of cultural capital was possible because it was unconsciously and implicitly transmitted from parents to children in the course of family life, and thereby internalized by children as habitus (Anderson, 2012, p. 113). Because of the constant inequalities and classism in the world, Bourdieu (1986) explored what tangible non-financial resources can act or serve as capital. He believed that social mobility could be attained through non-financial social assets, such as cultural awareness, formal education, education credentials, mannerisms and aesthetic preferences (Yosso, 2005; Winkle-Wagner, 2010).
As described by Dumais and Ward (2010), Bourdieu argued that cultural capital is acquired over time, mainly through the socialization process at home and through parental investment in the right kinds of cultural training (p. 247). These non-financial social assets can be viewed as what one brings to the table in regard to knowledge, skills, and abilities obtained either on their own or having it passed down from generation to generation. For example, a persons views on the educational system or style of speech are examples of generational non-financial assets.
However, Kingston (2001) argues that the United States schools way of favoring certain cultural styles are directly relevant to educational attainment:
That the cultural practices that enhance school success should not be passed off as conformity to dominant norms, with the implication that some other norms
19


should be just as beneficial, or even that these norms are somehow illegitimate.
To do so, even implicitly, diverts attention from an important message, especially for the disadvantaged: Some cultural practices tend to help everyone at school. They are no less worthwhile because of some presumed class linkage, nor are they incompatible with the maintenance of any vital subcultural differences (p. 91). Instead of framing cultural capital from a dominant class perspective, where there is only one right kind of cultural capital, it should as Kingston (2001) argues be framed from an inclusive viewpoint, where we all possess cultural capital. We have learned that the experiences students gain overtime give them the language to articulate the value of the assets in their community, while considering the assets that they bring from their communities as benefiting others in the community at large.
Researchers argue that even though enrichment programs may only last a few weeks, the influence they have on students can have long-term effects (Li, Alfeld, Kennedy & Putallaz, 2009). Dumais and Ward (2010) argue that if students are exposed to high arts activities early in their lives, their comfort level at universities will be high, thus making it easier for them to adapt to the challenges of engaging in the dominant culture. According to Gaddis (2013),
Rather than block upward mobility, cultural capital benefits low-SES youth by allowing them to better navigate the education system and interact with educational gatekeepers whom they otherwise would not. Cultural capital allows low-SES youth to fit into a world that values middle-and high-SES culture (p. 2) The opportunities afforded to lower income students through enrichment programs will assist them in gaining the knowledge, language, and skills that will empower them to
20


realize they have the aptitude and the ability to compete with middle to upper income populations. Participants are provided with insider knowledge of how these institutions work. This process is learned through observing how others interact within their social environment and then replicating these actions for themselves (Bandura, 1989; Bandura, 2001). What one witnesses can alter the way one believes or behaves.
These behaviors and beliefs are referred to as habitus, a term that Bourdieu used to describe ones way of being. For example, if a child observes his or her parents reading books everyday, he or she may do the same thing thus influencing later behaviors in their life. This could also be said about attaining a college education. If ones parents attend college and graduated with a degree, it is more likely that their child will go and complete college (Espenshade & Radford, 2009). As Swartz (1997) explains, a childs ambitions and expectations with regard to education and career are structurally determined products of parental and other reference-group educational experience and cultural life (as cited in Dumais &Ward, 2010). Chiu et al. (2006) argues, ... that a person's behavior is partially shaped and controlled by the influences of social network (i.e., social systems) and the person's cognition (e.g., expectations, beliefs) (p. 1874).
Therefore, what a person observes through social networking is processed through his or her own cognition as they take time to reflect, think about, and act upon what they have learned. This process is vital when setting personal goals or making life-changing decisions. Habitus can be dependent upon ones social position (Dumais & Ward, 2010). It is important to note that individuals can have multiple habitus forms and positions throughout their life. Ones social life at home can influence their behavior differently than how they may act or behave in a work setting.
21


The College 4 Y.O.U. program empowers participants to articulate the strengths they bring to the academic arena from their communities.
Social Capital
Similar to cultural capital, the foundations of social capital can be traced to Bourdieu, and later works by Coleman and Putnam (Carpiano, 2006, p. 166). However, unlike cultural capital, which values skills or knowledge that one possesses, social capital is defined by the connections and/or networks that a person or a community possesses (Acar, 2011). Woolcock and Narayan (2000) summarize this concept by stating, Its not what you know, its who you know (p. 225). These connections and/or networks could lead to opportunities that could open doors to many possibilities for a students future. Sandefur and Laumann (1998) expands more on this concept of social capital by arguing,
An individual's potential stock of social capital consists of the collection and pattern of relationships in which she is involved and to which she has access, and further to the location and patterning of her associations in larger social space. That is, her potential social capital is both the contact she herself holds and the way in which those contacts link her to other patterns of relations (p.
484).
Social mobility is determined by how one elects to uses the newly attained social capital. In regard to educational issues, peer pressure has been a leading factor in influencing some students to or not to maximize on their social capital and potential (Zhang, DeBlois, Deniger & Kamanzi, 2008, p. 99). Bourdieu further suggests, that the volume of social capital possessed by an individual depends on the size of the network that he or she can mobilize and the volume of capital possessed by each person to whom he or she is
22


connected (as cited in Chambers & Deller, 2011, p. 52). The time and investment spent increasing ones social capital can influence the persons ability to use the capital to advance them in the future.
According to Putnam (2000), social capital can be viewed as three-dimensional: bridging, bonding, and linking (Zhang et al., 2008; Carpiano, 2006). Putnam (2000) elaborates on his three-dimensional concept by stating, bonding social capital refers to strong relationships with family members, relatives, and close friends; bridging capital to relatively loose ties with distant friend, acquaintance, associates, and colleagues; and linking social capital to relations with groups and institutions (as cited in Zhang et al., 2008, p. 100). Social capital can be received and transferred through bridging, bonding, and linking. Social capital is the the sum of the actual and potential resources embedded within, available through, and derived from the network of relationships possessed by an individual or social unit (Chiu, Hsu & Wang, 2006, p. 1875). It is through these comprehensive interactions and relationships that the College 4 Y.O.U. program has established with institutions of higher education that served as a resource for the participants to use how they choose. As a result of participation in the College 4 Y.O.U. program participants have attained the ability to link other family and community members to the academic community in which they have created new bonds.
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CHAPTER IV
RESEARCH METHOD
Using a fully mixed method sequential equal status approach I was able to examine how the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program offered through the Skinner Middle School Neighborhood Center has influenced its participants attitudes, beliefs andbeh aviors towards higher education. I collected data by using multiple methods (i.e., student survey, program coordinator interview, parent/adult sponsor focus groups and participating College 4 Y.O.U. student focus groups). Bringing together the quantitative analysis data and the qualitative interpretation focus group response data into a written format links ways in which a students involvement in the College 4 Y.O.U. program at Skinner influenced their attitude, beliefs and/or behaviors towards higher education (Bazeley, 2011; Collins, Onwuegbuzie, & Johnson, 2012).
Survey
A survey questionnaire was administered to 38 of the 44 College 4 Y.O.U. participants. The survey questionnaire asked the respondents to share how College 4 Y.O.U. and other enrichment programs have affected and/or influenced their attitude, beliefs and/or behaviors toward higher education. The survey consisted of likert scaled and open-ended questions.
To assess the underlying structure for the 19-likert scale items of the survey, a principal components factor analysis was conducted to establish the existence of attitude scales consisting of three or more likert items (Leech, Barrett & Morgan, 2008). Four scales emerged corresponding to the following constructs: Support for college from peers
24


and parents, Perceived importance of college, Fears about academic performance, and Teacher support for college and personal determination to graduate from high school. A factorial analysis of variance was then used to test for differences in scale means associated with demographic factors (gender, grade level and ethnicity).
Focus Groups
I used the quantitative data and responses from the survey to assist in the creation of focus groups questions (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2004). The Centers staff assisted with identifying participants for the focus groups. From the number of respondents that volunteered to be a part of a focus group, seven students and five parents/adult sponsors participated in the focus groups. Four focus groups were conducted: two groups of students that are participating in the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program and two groups of parents/adult sponsors whose student are participating in the College 4 Y.O.U. program.
Interview with the Coordinator
After conducting the first two focus groups I met with the coordinator of the College 4 Y.O.U. program for the purpose of gaining insight on the programs mission, objectives and barriers.
Coding and Categories
The data from the survey documents, focus groups, coordinators interview were summarized and coded into themes and categories (Appendix A) to analyze what the participants had said, learned, and believed using integrated interpretation (Onwuegbuzie, Slate, Leech & Collins, 2007; Bazeley, 2011; Merriam, 2009).
25


A triangulation of the survey, focus groups and interview results was used to corroborate the findings of the study (Onwuegbuzie and Leech, 2004).
26


CHAPTER V
FINDINGS
The findings presented in this study provide encouraging and reliable evidence that College 4 Y.O.U. participants attitudes, beliefs and behaviors towards higher education had been influenced by their involvement in the program. However, in no way does the data imply or suggest that the program itself made the sole difference in changing the participants attitude, beliefs and behaviors. Simply, the data reveals that the program has been an influential factor in changing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. In the quantitative approach and qualitative approach sections, I contextualize the findings by identify key constructs and categories that provide evidence that there are changes.
Quantitative Approach
Responses to the surveys were entered into Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) software. To assess the underlying structure for the 19-likert scale items of the survey, a Principal Components factor analysis with Varimax Rotation was conducted (Leech, Barrett & Morgan, 2008). The survey was designed to reflect four different constructs related to attitudes and preparation for college, and accordingly the analysis was constrained to a four-factor solution. The likert scale questions were clustered into the following four constructs:
1) Support for college from peers and parents,
2) Perceived importance of college,
3) Fears about academic performance,
27


4) Teacher support for college and personal determination to graduate from high school,
Once the four constructs were identified, frequency tables and cross tabulation tables were created to show how participants responded to the survey questions based on demographic factors (gender, grade level and ethnicity) (Appendix B). The items were summed into a scale.
A Factorial ANOVA was conducted in order to determine if there was a difference among each of the constructs based on gender, ethnicity, and grade on an individual level and a relationship level. There was a significant difference associated with ethnicity, however, even though there was no significant difference among gender and grade constructs, the data showed some interesting trends. The assumptions of independent observations, homogeneity of variability, and normal distributions of the dependent variable for each group was checked. The assumption of homogeneity of variances was violated. Since this assumption was violated, had there been any true significance, the Games-Howell post-hoc test would have been used to determine where the differences were. The assumptions of normal distributions of the dependent variable for three of the constructs were met. However, the Teacher Support and Self Determination construct assumption of normal distributions was violated. A Factorial ANOVA for the Teacher Support and Self Determination construct was robust against violations of the assumption of the normal distribution of the dependent variable (Leech, Barrett & Morgan, 2008). The assumption of normalcy in the dependent variable was violated. It was negatively skewed. The skewness value was -2.02.
28


A Cronbachs Alpha was calculated in order to provide evidence for internal consistency. In order for a construct to attain internal consistency, the value must be greater than or equal to .7 (Morgan, Leech, Gloeckner, & Barett, 2011). Two of the four constructs came back greater than .7; showing that "Teacher Support and Self-Determination" (.87) and "Support for College from Parents and Peers"(.76) constructs have evidence for internal consistency. The other two constructs were below .7; therefore, not providing evidence for internal consistency.
The tables and explanations below display the results and output of the four constructs based on ethnicity (Table 2), grade levels (Table 3), and gender (Table 4). The items were summed into a scale.
Table 2. Constructs by Ethnicity
Ethnicity
Hispanic TT71 American White T ,. Indian Multi- Racial
M SD M SD M SD M SD
Support for College by parents and peers 4.04 .44 4.43 .37 2.92 .12 4.00 .66
Perceived Importance of College 4.47 .54 4.60 .47 4.50 .42 4.25 .53
Fears of Academic Performance 3.00 .71 2.85 .55 2.50 .71 2.73 .56
Teacher Support and Self-Determination 4.56 .59 4.87 .30 3.00 1.88 4.67 .49
There was a significant difference associated with ethnicity (p<05) in relations to the Support for College from Parents and Peers construct. Ethnicity accounted for 55% of the variance in responses (eta2 = .55). In the Teacher support and self-determination construct, a post-hoc comparison showed that Native American students responded lower than students of other ethnicities, a difference larger than expectable by chance.
However, the sample included only two Native American students, not randomly
29


selected, and they cannot be assumed to be "representative" of all Native American students in DPS.
Table 3. Constructs by Grade
Grade
6th Grade 7 th Grade 8th Grade
M SD M SD M SD
Support for College by parents and peers 4.13 .62 3.93 .60 4.02 .43
Perceived Importance of College 4.28 .57 4.41 .52 4.68 .34
Fears of Academic Performance Teacher Support and Self-Determination 2.83 .62 2.77 .61 3.16 .73
4.67 .47 4.58 .87 4.29 .68
Table 3. Constructs by Gender
Gender
Male Female
M SD M SD
Support for College by parents and peers 4.05 .62 3.99 .52
Perceived Importance of College 4.23 .53 4.66 .38
Fears of Academic Performance Teacher Support and Self-Determination 2.93 .63 2.81 .66
4.58 .52 4.51 .90
There was significant difference between males and females within the Perceived Importance of College construct. Males did report a lower average score for perceived importance (M= 4.23, SD= .53) than Females (M= 4.66, SD=.38). For the other three constructs there was no significant difference between males and females. But the interaction between gender and grade was significant. The figures (Figure 3, Figure 4, Figure 5, & Figure 6) below show the inconsistency in the responses for each construct between males and female with respect to their grade levels. Where the two lines cross is where the inconsistency lies, thus causing the interaction.
30


Figure 3. Fears of Academic Performance
Figure 4. Perceived Importance of College
Figure 5. Teacher Support and Self-Determination
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Support for College by parents and peers
Male
Female
Grade
Figure 6. Support for College by parents and peers
Crosstabulation of Ethnicity and knowing anyone who has gone to college (N=37)
10
8
6
4
2
0
Latino/a White American Indian Mulit-Racial
Yes
No
Figure 7. Knowing anyone who has gone to college
Above is a crosstabulation of ethnicity and knowing anyone who has gone to
college (Figure 7). As the figure indicates the two American Indian participants did not
know anyone who has gone to college. The participants that identified as multi-racial had
the largest difference between those that knew someone that has gone to college and did
not know anyone who has gone to college (7, 3). Finally, in response to the open-ended
question (Figure 8), thinking differently about college since their involvement in
32


College 4 Y.O.U., the majority of participants indicated that they are more confident that they could go to college (42% agreed and 34% strongly agreed).
After participating in enrichment programs, I am more confident that I can go to college. [N= 37)
50.0%
40.0%
30.0%
20.0%
10.0%
0.0%
42.1%
18.4%
2.6%
34.2%
Disagree Undecided Agree
Agree
Strongly
Figure 8. College confidence after participating in enrichment programs
The quantitative data collected through the survey has served as a way to triangulation the rationale for using different methods that study the same phenomenon, while at the same time serving to enhance and help inform the results of my qualitative data (Onwuegbuzie and Leech 2004).
Qualitative Approach
Using Dedoose, qualitative and mixed methods software, the transcribed focus group and coordinator interview narrative notes and responses to open-ended question from the surveys were examined for reoccurring themes. Once the themes became firmer, they became the central focus. The themes were than coded along with sub codes and child codes into six categories: Attitude Change (AC), Behavior Changes (BC), Belief Changes (BFC), Motivation (M), Opportunities (O), and Skills (S).
33


Parent responses. Parent participants agreed that the two biggest influential changes witnessed in their child since becoming a part of the College 4 Y.O.U. program were attitude and behavioral changes. One parent (Female Parent #2) cited that their childs involvement in College 4 Y.O.U. program is a major reason for these changes. Replying to the question about whether or not she believes her childs attitude has changed since becoming a participant in the College 4 Y.O.U. she states, She was pretty closed-minded, now she has a more open mind when we are talking with her, she knows more stuff around her. Shes more open-minded a lot (Female Parent #2). Another parent affirms that statement by saying, I see a sense of confidence (Male Parent #1). He continued by elaborating on how he has witnessed his son go from a quiet shy student to now having the confidence to present in front of large groups of peers and adults.
Male Parent #2 also said that his two sons have a different level of confidence since participating in the College 4 Y.O.U. program. They are more open and positive about school and life.
All the parents that participated in the focus groups believe that the opportunities afforded to their children through the College 4 Y.O.U. program and other enrichment programs at Skinner has been the main reason for their childs motivation to attend college after high school graduation. Four of the parents indicated that one of the reasons for deciding to send their child to Skinner was because of the enrichment programs offered through the Center and the school. One stated in regard to choosing to send his children to Skinner, we come from South Denver and we have some good school down there too, but Skinner is the only one with the college programs, and so that does make a difference (Male Parent #2). Along with Skinners School Performance Ratings, the
34


many enrichment program opportunities have been a positive influence for parents wanting to send their children to Skinner. Assuring the success of their students is not just a mission for Skinner and the Center staff, it is a passion.
Student responses. The student participants spoke about how the opportunities to visit college campuses have opened their minds to future possibilities. These opportunities have given them the ability to believe that college is attainable. The participants are picturing themselves on a college campus, while envisioning their future. One student stated, going to college is important, because it helps you get a better job and understanding of life. College gives you a perspective on life (Male Student #2). Of the seven student participants, six of the participants will be first generation college students. When asked, what has been most valuable about the program, the responses have been learning about colleges and visiting them. These opportunities are great examples of how the College 4 Y.O.U. program has influenced students attitudes and beliefs about themselves and higher education. They know that it isnt going to be easy, they will have to work hard; however, since being a part of the College 4 Y.O.U. program their fears of being on a college campus has diminished. The experiences of dorm life, cafeteria food and college level courses is making college life a tangible reality and less frightening.
Student participants say that their involvement in the College 4 Y.O.U. program has been vital to their academic success. One participant shared that when he first came to Skinner he was at a low reading level, but after getting involved with the programs in the Center, his reading level is grade appropriate. The program has motivated participants to get good grades, by having them believe in themselves and their abilities. Their self-
35


image is based largely on how they feel the significant adults in their lives perceive them. The mentors and networking opportunities have inspired them to do better academically, thus, altering their perceived images of not being capable to being able to succeed in higher education. Parents, teachers, staff and the students have witnessed these behavioral changes.
The number of students that now attend after school tutoring has been of the biggest behavioral and attitude changes. One student participant replied in regard to doing his homework by himself, whatever answer I got, I turned it in, but now I know that these people [staff and teachers at Skinner and the Center] help me so I can get the answer right and get things done the way they are supposed to be (Male Student #2). He is not the only one taking advantage of these opportunities, all seven of the student participants use the afterschool serves offered by Skinner to assure that they are college ready.
Coordinator responses. Even though the coordinator of the College 4 Y.O.U. has brought with him a wealth of knowledge in regard to enrichment programs, he has had to rely on his network of colleagues to maintain the program. Unlike the institutionally funded University of Colorado Pre-Collegiate Development Program through the Presidents Office that he developed in 1988, he has had to spend a majority of his time seeking sponsorship and funding resources. He mentioned that one of his top priorities has been confronting the financial barriers to maintain the program, while trying to expend it for the purpose of serving more students at Skinner and the surrounding Northwest Denver community. He shared that he has written a number of grants in hopes of obtaining sustainable funds and partnerships. Currently, the College 4
36


Y.O.U. has been funded through private donations, including in-kind support from five Colorado colleges and universities.
Another concern is the possibility of leadership turnover. Having been a witness of institutional leadership changes during his time at the University of Colorado, he fears that when a new leader comes in, he or she brings new ideas and new priorities that may or may not included enrichment programs. He contributes the success of the College 4 Y.O.U. program to Skinners principal for supporting the program by providing office and meeting space for the Center and the College 4 Y.O.U. program. He says that without her support the program would not occur. Principal Koyama provides support by giving of her time, soliciting funds through DPS, and promoting the program to the Northwest Denver community.
Even though there are barriers that the program still has to overcome, he truly believes that the College 4 Y.O.U. has impacted students, parents, the school and the community in a positive way. He says that the Center, along with the College 4 Y.O.U. has been instrumental in creating a climate of high academic achievement. He credits the College 4 Y.O.U. program for starting the after-school tutoring and the science fair that requires all students to participate. With the implementation of these programs, he stated, students confidence levels have been elevated, thus, seeing a positive change in the attitudes and behaviors of the participants towards higher education (Coordinator).
Summary of the Findings
The attitudes of these participants are positive; they see a bright future in front of them with multiple opportunities offered through the enrichment programs at Skinner. The College 4 Y.O.U. program has provided its participants with the beliefs,
37


opportunities, skills and motivation to become whatever they dream to be in the future. The findings of the study show that the College 4 Y.O.U. program has had an indirect influence on the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors toward higher education. Through the early intervention college exposure, the College 4 Y.O.U. has provided opportunities that these participants may not have had without the program.
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CHAPTER VI
IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
As research has shown, early intervention programs play a significant role in helping underserved and distressed students achieve the same academic level as their more privileged counterparts (Gullatt & Jan, 2003); however, these early intervention programs are a costly investment of staff time, institutional and foundation funds, and student and parent commitment. In this section, I list a number of recommendations that I believe would benefit the College 4 Y.O.U. program in maintaining the mission of meeting the needs of its participants through academic support, high school readiness, and college awareness.
Academic Capital Formation
The success of any pipeline program has to begin with a strong theoretical framework that is used as a guide in the design and testing of interventions to address challenges faced by its participants. As mentioned in chapter III, Academic Capital Formation (ACF) examines the ways in which a student gains academic, social and financial access into college. This model provides the framework for examining how postsecondary encouragement, public financing of higher education and early college campuses intervention and opportunities can influence underrepresented student academic achieve and behaviors (St. John, Hu, & Fisher, 2011).
It is my recommendation that the College 4 Y.O.U. program consider implementing an ACF framework, which will enable the program the ability to evaluate and determine how program elements serves as a linkage between social, cultural and
39


human capital. From my observation, the College 4 Y.O.U. has been implementing some segments of this framework unintentionally, including networking opportunities and tutoring requirements. The ACF framework will provide them with the theory and reasoning for continuing and bettering their program.
Partnerships and Collaborations
To ensure the longevity of the College 4 Y.O.U. program, a substantial and sustainable blueprint must be established. One recommendation would be to restructure the program model. Instead of including multiple institutions of higher education site visits and summer programs; it would benefit Skinner to establish a partnership with one or two committed institutions that may already have a similar program. Instead of reinventing the wheel, this would eliminate competing programs. For example, the University of Colorado System (CU) has a fully developed Pre-Collegiate program that serves middle school and high school students with similar demographics. It would be essential to develop a partnerships and collaborations with CU to provide resources for the College 4 Y.O.U. program. This would eradicate the additional funding that is spent on transportation, materials, and building rental fees that each of the colleges and the Center have to contribute for College 4 Y.O.U. participants visit each year. Sharing costs and resources will allow the program to increase the number of participants admitted and will also provided the participants with additional support services.
Barlow and Villarejo (2004) have found that the continuation of partnerships and collaborations between K-12 institutions, institutions of higher education and community collaborations are vital to the success of pre-collegiate pipeline programs at both an institutional level and an external level. Barlow and Villarejo (2004) argue, the
40


substantial investment of resources required to mount such comprehensive programs is an investment well spent and should be continued (p. 877). This investment needs to be a collaborative effort, where groups of leaders have to abandon their personal agendas in favor of a collective approach to improving underserved communities (Kania & Kramer, 2011).
To achieve this practice of collective impact, there needs to be a carefully structured process. To begin this process I would suggest creating a centralized infrastructure with dedicated staff or key members that are a part of a select committee or group that share a common agenda/mission. Once this is done, there has to be continuous communication between all parties involved. There needs to be a shared measurement system that provide information on the progression of the program and participants.
Leadership
Skinner has seen some extraordinary changes under the leadership of principal Michelle Koyama including TCAP score, enrollment rates, parent and community involvement, and additional athletic and academic enrichment programs. As Skinners successes and accomplishments become more visible in the public, there is always the chance that the agents of change will be highly sought out for their expertise by other institutions or organizations. Thus, it is important to make sure that the responsibly and/or contributions to the successes of an institution or program is not solely dependent upon a person(s) or mechanism(s). One parent confirmed this worry of programs dismantling or being discontinued; he hopes that Denver Public Schools will make sure these types of program last for a long time. Communities like Skinner have seen excellent
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programs developed to serve their youth, but once there is leadership change, program objective start to change. Almost always new leadership brings with them new agendas.
Distribution of power and duties. So often you see an excellent program developed that is later discontinued or mismanaged once the person who created the program is gone. In most cases this is inconvenient for the population or community in which the program was created to serve. One implication would be that school personnel be cross-trained to ensure that programs do not fall to the wayside when the person in charge moves on. This allows new ideas to be presented and shared in hopes of enhancing the program. Staff members have to be entrusted and empowered by the principal and new director of the Center to move forward on decisions that may impact students and the program. If one waits for approval all the time, opportunities could fly by.
Another suggestion would be to integrate classroom subject materials or lessons with the programs objectives. The program coordinator could engage classroom teachers by incorporating subject materials and/or lessons, such as writing, reading, math and science into the program projects or weekly focus areas.
Evaluation and data. Being that the College 4 Y.O.U. program has existed for six years, the data to support the programs college going rate is not available. However, in anticipation of the first cohort to graduate from high school this year, Skinner and the Center have to take a proactive approach collecting the data on their students. A program evaluation has to be conducted.
Even though basic data and administered evaluations have been kept from past cohorts, the program needs to take different measures in assuring that the program is
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making a difference. Collecting purposeful data in order to better track students along the pipeline track as well as administering evaluations to show impacts, satisfaction and areas for improvement will enable the program to determine what works and what does not. This will assist in deciding where resources and funding should be placed.
Collecting data and conducting program evaluations has to be done efficiently and logically in order to generate meaningful outcomes. To ensure that this process is being conducted properly, I would recommend that this be done either through outsourcing with a competent evaluation center or a consultant. A partnership with an institution of higher education would be ideal for this purpose, because this would allow data and evaluation collection be done systematically.
Funding Resources
As we have seen over the past eight years, local, state, and national educational budgets have decreased dramatically. Academic pipeline program similar to College 4 Y.O.U. have seen some of the biggest budget cuts because these types of programs are considered supplemental programs and are not a part of the academic core curricula.
Thus, when budgets get tight, these types of programs are the first to be eliminated.
The College 4 Y.O.U. program is in the same predicament. In the past Skinner and the Center have relied on the 21st Century Foundation grant, a United Way Worldwide grant, and small local grants and donations to provide financial support for employee salaries off-set and program costs for the College 4 Y.O.U. program. However, with more programs requesting support from these foundations and organizations, which are also functioning with limited funding, programs have to rethink their existence.
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District funding. Denvers Public School District needs to take the initiative in assuring that resources and funding continues to be available to enrichment program that have seen successes. The responsibility for soliciting support along with coordinating the actual program can be burdensome for program directors and coordinators. This sometimes defeats the purpose of the program, when the majority of time is spent writing grants, instead of serving the needs of the community.
Family Involvement
Research shows that family involvement is influential in a students future educational and career decisions (Elizabeth B., & Leigh A. S. 2009). The College 4 Y.O.U. has done a good job of informing parents about opportunities for their children; however, I believe that the program can take it one step further. St. John and colleagues elaborate on this concept by referring family involvement as family uplift. They define family uplift as, a pattern of behavior within family systems and extended networks that supports the acquisition of college knowledge, navigation of education and employment systems, and expansion of educational opportunity across generations (p. 17). They argue that parent/family involvement can transform the patterns of social behavior for the whole family through involvement. They refer to this as college knowledge, A form of cultural capital that includes the capacity to envision ones self and family members as college students, building understanding of the roles of courses and majors in preparation for graduate education and the workforce, and the ability to use human and information resources to discern and pursue appropriate pathways through educational systems
(p. 17). The Pre-Collegiate Program at CU Denver has a mandatory policy for parent, adult sponsor or family member participation. A parent or adult sponsor has to be in
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attendance at each Saturday Academy. Not only does this provide the adult member with the same experiences the participant is going through, it also demonstrates to the student participant that they have support at home and their community too.
I would recommend implementing a similar policy, however, there needs to be a mechanism that allows participants that may not have this support still participate in the program. These mechanisms could include seeking mentors from undergraduate institutions for these participants or seeking a community member that may serve as these participants adult sponsor.
Continuous Research
There remains much more to learn on how the College 4 Y.O.U. program has influenced its participants, particularly in the areas of college-going rates per cohort of participants and program evaluation. I would recommend that continuous research be done on the enrichment programs at Skinner and the Center. Future data that correlates with participants demographics, GPA, and TCAP scores would be useful in capturing a complete picture on how these programs have be influential on a student social and academic achievement.
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CHAPTER VII
CONCLUSION
For many Skinner students, a college campus may as well be a foreign country, full of unknown and unfamiliar faces. Yet, through campus exposure, students have started to see themselves differentlyhopefully at an institution of higher education. This study has demonstrated that the College 4 Y.O.U. program has afforded participants the opportunities to develop meaningful relationships that will assist with their future successes, whether through higher education or not. Participants were exposed to opportunities that increased their academic capital, while seeing changes to their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. This has in ways influenced the students thought process on how they view themselves and how others view them, making it easier for them to access and transition into an institution of higher education setting.
As Loza (2003) points out, a college education is the doorway to the middle class (p. 43). So, through these collaborations between institutions of higher education, parents, and community members, Skinner has provided students with a familiar support system to further their goals for high school graduation, college graduation, and becoming leaders in their communities. By engaging with these students, parents/adult sponsors, and communities, institutions of higher education can develop abetter understanding of how to provide these students with the right support, both academically and emotionally, to be successful at their institution. Enrichment programs, including College 4 Y.O.U. can bring about behavioral changes that assist in solving complex problems, like changing students attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors toward higher
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education by engaging them in the process earlier in their school years. By opening the doors to these opportunities, Skinner and its partners are not only influencing its students, but also affecting the Northwest Denver communities.
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APPENDIX A
RESEARCH METHOD
This mixed method research approach examines how the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program offered through the Skinner Middle School Neighborhood Center has influenced its participates attitudes, beliefs and/or behaviors towards higher education.
A vital reason for using a mixed method research approach is that mixed method studies address much more comprehensive research purposes than do quantitative and qualitative research alone (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2004, p. 770). A mixed method research approach allowed me to look closer into quantifiable details, while taking an open-ended view of the study at the same time (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2004). Bringing together the quantitative analysis data and the qualitative interpretation focus group response data into a written format links ways in which a students involvement in the College 4 Y.O.U. program at Skinner influenced their attitude, beliefs and behaviors towards higher education (Bazeley, 2011).
According to Onwuegbuzie and Leech (2004) there are five general purposes of mixed method studies,
(a) Triangulation: seeking convergence and corroboration of findings from different methods that study the same phenomenon; (b) complementarity: seeking elaboration, illustration, enhancement, and clarification of the findings from one method with results from the other method; (c) development: using the findings from one method to help inform the other method; (d) initiation: discovering paradoxes and contradictions that lead to a re-framing of the research question;
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and (e) expansion: seeking to expand the breadth and range of inquiry by using different methods for different inquiry components (p. 770).
Using the five purposes of mixed method studies as a guide of reference throughout this study, I conducted an examination of how the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program has influenced Skinner students attitudes, beliefs and behaviors towards higher education. I collected data by using multiple methods (i.e., student survey, parent/adult sponsor focus groups and participating College 4 Y.O.U. student focus groups). The data was summarized using both quantitative and qualitative approaches, known as integrated interpretation, for the purpose of generating stronger outcomes that are better supported by evidence from the study (Onwuegbuzie, Slate, Leech & Collins, 2007; Bazeley, 2011).
Sampling
The target population was 6th grade to 8th grade Skinner Middle School students that have participated in the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program and the parent/adult sponsors of those students that are participating in focus groups. The ages of the participants ranged from 11 years old to 14 years old. There are currently 44 students that participate in the College 4 Y.O.U. program. Of those 44 participates, 48% are male and 52% are female. The ethnic breakdown is 59% Latino, 7% American Indian, and 34% white. There are currently no African American or Asian American students that participate in the program. Compared to the overall population of Skinner Middle School of 372 students in which 81.5% are on free or reduced price lunch and 79.8% are considered ethnic minority. The student body population comprises of 71% Latino
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students, 20% White students, 3% African American students, 1% Asian American students and 2% American Indian students (Denver Public Schools).
Data Collection
Prior to collecting data or contacting potential participants, a human subject research approval was obtained through the University of Colorado Denver Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Denver Public Schools Research Review Board (RRB). Once IRB and RRB approval was granted, I worked with the Skinner Middle School principal and the Neighborhood Centers director to send out flyers along with assent and consent forms to all College 4 Y.O.U. participants and their parents/adult sponsors. The assent and consent forms consisted of my studys research question, objectives, and desired outcomes.
After collecting student signed assent forms, a survey questionnaire was administered. The survey questionnaire asked the respondent to share how College 4 Y.O.U. and other enrichment programs have affected and/or influenced their attitude, beliefs and behaviors toward higher education. The survey was conducted after school in the Neighborhood Center, where the students regularly meet after school hours. The survey consisted of likert scaled and open-ended questions. There were a total of 38 participants that turned in a survey. The number of incomplete surveys was minimal. The questions that were not answered were the open-ended questions. The students that filled out the survey received a candy bar for their participation.
With the assistance of the Neighborhood Centers staff participants for the focus groups were identified. The participants were currently active members of the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program. From the number of respondents that volunteered to be a
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part of a focus group, seven students and five parents/adult sponsors participated in the focus groups. Four focus groups were conducted; two groups of students that have participated in the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program and two groups of parents/adult sponsors whose student have participated in the College 4 Y.O.U. program.
The purpose for conducting separate focus groups was to see if there were dramatic changes in the attitudes, beliefs and/or behaviors of how the participating students and the parents of participants viewed higher education after going through the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program. The focus groups were administered in person. Three of four the focus groups were conducted after school. Focus groups were conducted in a natural setting convenient for the participants and the school officials. The two student focus groups took place on a Friday, December 6, 2013 (3:00pm) and Friday, December 13, 2013 (3:00pm) during the College 4 Y.O.U. after school meeting. The first parent/adult sponsor focus group was conducted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 in the evening (6:00pm) and the second on Thursday, December 19, 2013 at noon; during the parents lunch break. Focus group times ranged from 45 minutes to approximately one and a half hours. Originally, I had scheduled only two focus groups, one for students and one for parents. However, due to the small number of participants that showed up for the first two focus groups, another two were added.
The focus groups took place in a variety of places in the Skinner Middle School Neighborhood Center, including the Directors office; which consisted of a conference table with six chairs around it. Both student focus groups were conducted in this room. A classroom was used for the first parent focus group. Finally the last focus group, which became more of an interview, consisted of one parent and myself meeting in the main
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Centers staff conference room. The focus groups were recorded using voice memo on both my iPad/iPhone. I used both devices in case one malfunctioned, this way I would not lose any important information.
Prior to any of the discussions being recorded, anonymity was explained and ensured. The participants were then given a one sheet form including the researchers contact information and a list of focus group etiquette to review. The list comprised of suggestions such as there are no right or wrong answers and what is said in this room stays in this room. The conversations focused on how the College 4 Y.O.U. program has influenced their attitudes, behavior and beliefs towards higher education. Questions were broad enough to not be threatening and easy enough that participates felt comfortable responding.
Because the focus group sessions occurred during afterschool hours and over the lunch hour, food (pizza) and drinks (water) were provided for each focus group. The parent/adult sponsors received a $25 gift card from Walgreens for their participation in the group.
After conducting the first two focus groups I met with the coordinator of the College 4 Y.O.U. program for the purpose of gaining insight on the programs mission, objectives and barriers.
Data Analysis
Using a fully mixed methods sequential equal status approach, I was able to use the quantitative data and responses from the survey to assist in the creation of focus groups questions and topics. Through survey documents and focus groups, I consolidated, reduced, and interpreted what the participants had said, learned, and believe in hopes of
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making sense out of the data collected (Merriam, 2009). The results of the surveys distributed and the recordings and the notes taken during the focus groups were coded to provide themes and categories to analyze.
Quantitative Approach
After the survey had been administered, responses to the surveys were entered into Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) software. To assess the underlying structure for the 19-likert scale items of the survey, a factor analysis was conducted (Leech, Barrett & Morgan, 2008). Four factors were requested. Dividing the questions into four constructs: Support for college from peers and parents, Perceived importance of college, Fears about academic performance, and Teacher support for college and personal determination to graduate from high school, frequency tables and cross tabulation tables were created to show how participants responded to the survey questions based on demographic factors (gender, grade level and ethnicity). Then an One-way ANOVA was ran to determine if there was a significant difference between the grade each student was in (e.g., 6th, 7th, and 8th) and each construct (e.g., Support for college from peers and parents, Perceived importance of college, Fears about academic performance, and Teacher support for college and personal determination to graduate from high school).
An independent t-test was run to determine if there was a significant difference between gender and each construct. Finally, A one-way ANOVA was run in order to determine if there was a difference within the constructs based on ethnicity.
Qualitative Approach
After each individual focus group had been conducted, the voice memo recording of the group responses data was transcribed into narrative notes. This was done
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usually within 24 hours of the meeting, to ensure accuracy during data analysis. The transcribed narrative notes were than examined for reoccurring themes. Once the themes became firmer, they became the central focus. The themes were than coded into six categories: Attitude Change (AC), Behavior Changes (BC), Belief Changes (BFC), Motivation (M), Opportunities (O), and Skills (S). There were sub codes and child codes that fit within these six main categories. This coding was done using Dedoose, qualitative and mixed methods software. The responses to open-ended question from the surveys were also put into the Dedoose software and were coded using the same six categories from the focus groups narrative notes. The codes had to be consolidated, reorganized and renamed after members of my dissertation committee and classmates reviewed and coded some of the narrative notes.
The validity and reliability of the study was ensured and enhanced by using several techniques, including a single interviewer and transcriber for all focus groups, peer examination and constant feedback from dissertation committee members on focus group and survey questions.
Study Limitations
Initially, I had hoped to compare the attitudes, beliefs and/or behaviors toward higher education of those who had participated in with College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program with those who had not participated in the program. However, the Denver Public Schools Department of Assessment, Research and Evaluation limited my study to only those that had or are now participating in College 4 Y.O.U. Thus, limiting the number of students and parent/adult sponsors who could participate in my study. Their reasoning was that my research should be based solely on students and parents
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individual perceptions of the College 4 Y.O.U. program, so for those that did not participate, their perception of the program would not exist.
Another limitation of the study became evident when obtaining volunteers to participate in the focus groups. There was reluctance from both students and parents to be involved in the study. Some of the factors that added to this reluctance were time constraints, weather, and fear of embarrassment.
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Survey
The survey was used to measure if students attitude, beliefs and/or behaviors towards higher education were influenced by their participation in the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program. The survey consisted of 36-likert scale and open-ended questions. The survey was conducted on November 8, 2013 during the participants regularly schedule College 4 Y.O.U. Friday after school meetings. Below is a copy of the survey that was administered to 38 middle school student participants.
Study Title: Changing Middle School students attitude, beliefs and behaviors towards Higher Education through Enrichment Programs Principal Investigator: Dominic F. Martinez COMIRB No: 13-2244
Version Date: September 30, 2013
T Age:_______________
2. I most identify as: (Please circle the one best corresponds to you)
Male Female Transgender
3. Which is true for you?
I was born in the U.S., but my parents were not
I was born in the U.S. and only one of my parents was. The other was not bom in the U.S.
I was born in the U.S. and both of my parents were born in the U.S.
I was born in the U.S., my parents were born in the U.S. and my grandparents were bom in the U.S.
4. Grade in School: (Please circle the one best corresponds to you)
6th 7th 8th
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5. Ethnicity: (Please circle the one best corresponds to you)
Hispanic White African American Asian American Pacific
Islander
American Indian/Native American Multi-Racial_____________________________
6. Do you know anyone who has been enrolled in college in the last five years? (Please circle the one best corresponds to you)
Yes No
7. If so, what are you relations to them? (Please circle the one best corresponds to you)
Family Member Friend Other_________________
8. What are your educational goals?
9. What are three things that you enjoy most about school?
1.
2.
3.
10. What are three things you dont like about school?
1.
2.
3.
Please rate the following questions on how much you agree or disagree with each statement.
11. I want to go to college?
Disagree
Strongly
o
Disagree
o
Undecided
o
Agree
o
Agree
Strongly
o
12. My parents want me to go to college?
Disagree
Strongly
o
Disagree
o
Undecided
o
Agree
o
Agree
Strongly
o
13. Most of my teachers encourage me to go to college?
Disagree
Strongly
o
Disagree Undecided
o o
14. Most of my friends are interested in going to college?
Disagree
Strongly
o
Disagree Undecided
o o
Agree
o
Agree
o
Agree
Strongly
o
Agree
Strongly
o
62


15.
College does not affect my chances of getting a better job?
Disagree
Strongly
o
Disagree Undecided
o o
Agree
o
Agree
Strongly
o
16.
I do not think that a college education is necessary for a person to be successful in todays world?
Disagree
Strongly
o
Disagree Undecided Agree
o o o
Agree
Strongly
o
17.
High school graduates should go onto college because in the long run they will have better job opportunities?
Disagree
Strongly
o
Disagree Undecided
o o
Agree
o
Agree
Strongly
o
18. It is better to be educated rather than uneducated?
Disagree
Strongly
o
Disagree Undecided
o o
Agree
o
Agree
Strongly
o
19.
A college education will help me get a better job?
Disagree
Strongly
o
Disagree Undecided
o o
Agree
o
Agree
Strongly
o
20. If you have good grades in high school, you are more likely to get into college?
Disagree
Strongly
o
Disagree Undecided Agree
o o o
Agree
Strongly
o
21. It is important to take challenging classes in high school, so you are prepared for
college
Disagree
Strongly
o
Disagree Undecided Agree
o o o
Agree
Strongly
o
Please answer the following questions regarding how often the following events happen
HOW OFTEN DO YOU...
22. Talk at home about going to college?
Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often
o o o o o
23. Talk about going to college at school?
Never Not Often Sometimes Often Often Very
o o o o o
24. Talk about going to college with your friends?
Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often
o o o o o
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25. Consider dropping out of school?
Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often
o o o o o
26. Worry about how you will perform academically at school?
Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often
o o o o o
27. Worry about the impression you make on others?
Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often
o o o o o
28. Feel optimistic about your future at college?
Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often
o o o o o
29. Worried about going to college?
Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often
o o o o o
Please answer the following questions.
30. What kind of grades do you expect to get this year? (Please circle the one best corresponds to you)
1) A
2) A/B
3) B/C
4) C/D
5) D/F
31. Are you involved in any enrichment programs? (Please circle the one best corresponds to you)
(Enrichment Programs include Pre-Collegiate Programs, After-School Programs and/or Summer Programs)
Yes No N/A
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32. If so, what enrichment programs are you involved with? (Please circle the ones that best corresponds to you)
Pre-Collegiate Program After-School Programs
Summer Programs
Please list the programs that you have been involved with: {For example; Health Sciences Summer Program at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus or College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program)
33. After participating in enrichment programs, I am more confident that I can go to college?
Disagree
Strongly
o
Disagree Undecided Agree
o o o
Agree
Strongly
o
34. How did enrichment programs make you think differently about college?
Why do you feel that way?
35. What do you think is the most valuable about enrichment programs?
36. What do you think is the least valuable about enrichment programs?
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APPENDIX B
ANALYTICAL WORK
Appendix B is separated into three sections. The first section, Data Collection Schedule provides a timeline describing how the study was conducted. This section includes dates and times of data collection; the methods of data collection, whether it was through a survey or a focus group; who participated in the study and where the collection of data took place; and the purpose for collecting certain data.
The second section, Student Participation Survey Results, is the statistical results taken from the survey. In the first three tables I have grouped the survey questions into four constructs: Support for college from peers and parents, Perceived importance of college, Fears about academic performance, and Teacher support for college and personal determination to graduate from high school To show how participants responded to the survey questions based on demographic factors (gender, grade level and ethnicity) frequency tables and cross tabulation tables were created showing the means and standard deviation for each question. The last three tables and explanations displays that a oneway ANOVA was ran to determine if there was a significant difference between the grade each student was in (e.g., 6th, 7th, and 8th) and each construct (e.g., Support for college from peers and parents, Perceived importance of college, Fears about academic performance, and Teacher support for college and personal determination to graduate from high school). An independent t-test was run to determine if there was a significant
66


difference between gender and each construct. Finally, a one-way ANOVA was run in order to determine if there was a difference within the constructs based on ethnicity. The third section, Coding and Descriptions, breakdowns the themes/codes, sub codes, child codes and description of codes that fit within the six main categories that have became the central focus of the study in the first table. These include: Attitude Change (AC), Behavior Changes (BC), Belief Changes (BFC), Motivation (M), Opportunities (O), and Skills (S). The second table provides specific excerpts from focus groups transcriptions that correlate with each of the six main categories.
67


Data Collection Schedule: Survey and Focus Groups
Date Time Data Type Who and Where Purpose
11-8-2013 Survey Skinner Middle School Students that participate Demographics and examine
3:15pm-4:00pm in College 4 Y.O.U. There were 38 students and 2 program coordinators present (Brittnee Davis and Maria Ruiz-Jargon). The survey was conducted in the Neighborhood Centers large classroom. whether a students attitude, beliefs and behaviors towards higher education is influenced by their involvement in enrichment programs at Skinner Middle School offered through the Skinner Neighborhood Center.
12-5-2013 Parent Neighborhood Center Classroom (all seats where To learn if they believe that their
6:00pm-7:10pm Focus around a table) (four tables pushed together). childs involved in the enrichment
Group Present: Male 1 (Frank) (Hispanic) (Son in the program -7th Grader); Male 2 (Dana) (African American) (arrived with his two son, both sons are in the program 6th and 7th Grader); Male 3 (Ray) (White) (arrived with older daughter, who had been in the College 4 Y.O.U. Family has had three children go through the program) (Son is currently in the program- 8th Grader); Female 1 (Virginia) (Hispanic) (Her son is Multiracial) programs at Skinner Middle School has influenced his or hers attitude towards higher education (college). Due to a small number of parents in attendance, I arranged to meet with other parents on different dates.
12-6-2013 Student Used Dirks office (Dirk, Director of the To learn if students believe that
3:05pm-4:00pm Focus Neighborhood Center) their involved in the enrichment
Group We sat at a conference room table that had six programs at Skinner Middle
& chairs. School has influenced their
4:00pm-5:00pm Intervie Present: attitude towards higher education
w with College Student 1- 6th grader African American male student (Danas Son) (college).
4 Y.O.U. Student 2- 7thgrader African American male Due to a small number of
program student (Danas Son) participants and only male student
coordina Student 3- 8th grader White male student (Rays in attendance, I arranged to meet
tor Son) Student 4- 7th grader Multi-racial (Hispanic/White) male student (Virginias son) Coordinator Male (Ron) with other students on different dates. To learn why, how and when the program was developed and issues/barriers that the program deals with.
12-13-2013 Student Used Dirks office Conference room table that To learn if students believe that
3:llpm-4:00pm Focus had six chairs. their involved in the enrichment
Group Present: Female Student 1: Latina (7th Grade) Female Student 2: Latina (7th Grade) Female Student 3: Latina (7th Grade) programs at Skinner Middle School has influenced their attitude towards higher education (college).
12-19-2013 Parent Neighborhood Center Main Office (We sat To learn if they believe that their
Noon-12:30pm Focus around a conference table) childs involved in the enrichment
Group Present: Female 2: Latino Female (Family from Mexico) (daughter in College 4 Y.O.U.) programs at Skinner Middle School has influenced his or hers attitude towards higher education.
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Student Participation Survey Results (38 student completed the survey)
Support for college from peers and parents
Grade
6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade
Gender Gender Gender
Male (n= 11) Female (rr- =3) Male (n=6) Female (w=10) Male (n=4) Female (=4)
M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD
I want to go to 4.64 .67 5.00 0.00 4.67 .52 4.80 .42 4.50 .58 5.00 0.00

go to college Talk at home about 4.64 .67 5.00 0.00 5.00 0.00 4.90 .32 4.50 .58 5.00 0.00
going to college 3.70 1.16 3.67 1.15 3.67 .52 3.30 1.34 3.00 1.41 4.00 0.00
Talk about going to
college at school 3.60 1.07 3.67 1.15 4.00 .71 2.89 1.05 4.25 .96 3.25 .50
Talk about going to
college with your friends It is important to take challenging 3.30 1.16 3.00 1.00 3.00 1.41 2.30 1.25 2.25 .96 3.25 .96
classes in high school, so you are prepared for college 4.55 .52 5.00 0.00 4.50 .55 4.70 .48 4.50 .58 4.75 .50
Ethnicity
Hispanic (n= 20) White (n= 5) American Indian/Native American (n=2) Multi-Racial 0?=11)
M SD M SD M SD M SD
I want to go to college 4.75 .55 5.00 0.00 4.00 0.00 4.73 .47
Parents want me to go
to college 4.80 .52 5.00 0.00 4.50 .71 4.82 .40
Talk at home about
going to college 3.53 .90 4.20 .84 1.50 .71 3.64 1.12
Talk about going to
college at school 3.61 .85 4.00 .71 1.50 .71 3.50 1.08
Talk about going to
college with your friends It is important to take challenging classes in 2.84 1.07 3.60 .89 1.50 .71 2.73 1.42
high school, so you are prepared for college 4.60 .50 4.80 .45 4.50 .71 4.64 .50
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Perceived importance of college
_________________________Grade________________________
6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade
Gender Gender Gender
Male Female Female Female
(n= 11)_____(n=3) Male (n=6) (n=10) Male (n=4) (n=4)
M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD
College does not affect my chances of getting a better job It is better to be educated rather than uneducated High School graduates should go onto college because in the long run they will have better jobs opportunities A college education will help me get a better job
Worried about going to college
If you have good grades in high school, you are
mnrp likplv tn npt intn
2.82 1.40 2.33 2.31
4.55 .52 5.00 0.00
4.18 .60 5.00 0.00
4.36 .67 5.00 0.00
3.00 1.41 1.67 1.15
4.36 .67 5.00 0.00
3.50 1.64 2.10 1.79
4.00 1.10 4.89 .33
4.33 .82 4.80 .42
4.50 .55 4.90 .32
4.00 .89 1.90 .74
4.50 .55 4.90 .32
1.50 1.00 1.50 .58
5.00 0.00 5.00 0.00
4.75 .50 4.50 .58
5.00 0.00 5.00 0.00
2.25 1.50 2.50 .58
5.00 0.00 3.50 1.73
college
Ethnioity
Hispanic (n- = 20) White (n= 5) American Indian/Native American (n=2) Multi-Racial (n=11)
M SD M SD M SD M SD
College does not affect my chances of getting a better job 2.30 1.69 1.80 1.30 2.00 1.41 3.00 1.55
It is better to be educated rather than uneducated 4.79 .42 5.00 0.00 4.00 0.00 4.45 .93
High School graduates should go onto college because in the long run they will have better jobs opportunities 4.55 .60 4.40 .55 5.00 0.00 4.45 .69
A college education will help me get a better job 4.70 .47 4.80 .45 5.00 0.00 4.64 .67
Worried about going to college 2.47 1.26 2.80 1.30 1.50 .71 3.00 1.34
If you have good grades in high school, you are more likely to get into college 4.45 1.00 4.60 .55 4.50 .71 4.73 .47
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Fears about academic performance
____________________________Grade___________________________
6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade
Gender Gender Gender
Female Male (n= 11) (n=3) Male (n=6) Female (n=10) Male (n=4) Female (n=4)
M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD
Talk about going to college with your friends 3.30 1.16 3.00 1.00 3.00 1.41 2.30 1.25 2.25 .96 3.25 .96
Worry about how you perform academically at school 2.90 1.20 3.00 1.73 2.67 1.37 3.10 1.45 2.75 1.71 4.25 .50
Worry about the impression you make on others 3.70 1.34 3.00 0.00 2.67 1.03 3.40 1.35 2.75 1.26 3.00 1.41
Feel optimistic about your future at college 3.80 .63 4.00 1.00 3.50 1.52 3.40 1.51 3.00 1.83 4.25 .96
Worried about going to college 3.00 1.41 1.67 1.15 4.00 .89 1.90 .74 2.25 1.50 2.50 .58
Ethnicity
Hispanic (n= 20) American Indian/Native American White (n= 5) (n=2) Multi-Racial (n=11)
M SD M SD M SD M SD
Talk about going to college with your friends 2.84 1.07 3.60 .89 1.50 .71 2.73 1.42
Worry about how you perform academically at school 3.47 1.39 3.20 1.3 0 2.00 1.4 1 2.45 1.04
Worry about the impression you make on others 3.21 1.18 3.40 1.1 4 2.50 2.1 2 3.27 1.35
Feel optimistic about your future at college 3.79 1.03 4.00 .71 2.00 1.4 1 3.45 1.57
Worried about going to college 2.47 1.26 2.80 1.3 0 1.50 .71 3.00 1.34
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Teacher support for college and personal determination to graduate from high school
Grade
6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade
Gender Gender Gender
Male (n= 11) Female (n=3) Male (n=6) Female (n=10) Male (n=4) Female (n=4)
M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD
Most Teachers encourage me to go to college Most Teachers 4.64 .50 5.00 0.00 4.67 .52 4.30 1.34 4.50 .58 4.00 .82
encourage me to go to college I do not think that a 4.64 .50 5.00 0.00 4.67 .52 4.30 1.34 4.50 .58 4.00 .82
college education is necessary for a person to be successful in today's world 2.36 1.21 1.00 0.00 2.17 1.47 2.50 .85 3.00 2.31 1.75 .96
College does not affect my chances of getting a better job 2.82 1.40 2.33 2.31 3.50 1.64 2.10 1.79 1.50 1.00 1.50 .58
Talk at home about going to college 3.70 1.16 3.67 1.15 3.67 .52 3.30 1.34 3.00 1.41 4.00 0.00
Consider dropping out of school 1.50 .85 1.00 0.00 1.00 0.00 1.20 .63 2.00 1.15 1.25 .50

Ethnicity
American
Indian/Native Multi-Racial
Hispanic (n= = 20) White (n= 5) American (n=2) (n=11)
M SD M SD M SD M SD
Most Teachers encourage me to go to college 4.55 .69 4.80 .45 2.50 2.12 4.64 .50
Most Teachers encourage me to go to college 4.55 .69 4.80 .45 2.50 2.12 4.64 .50
I do not think that a college education is necessary for a person to be successful in today's world 2.15 1.27 2.60 1.52 2.50 .71 2.27 1.35
College does not affect my chances of getting a better job 2.30 1.69 1.80 1.30 2.00 1.41 3.00 1.55
Talk at home about going to college 3.53 .90 4.20 .84 1.50 .71 3.64 1.12
Consider dropping out of school 1.37 .76 1.00 0.00 2.00 1.41 1.27 .65
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Factor loading for The Survey
The Survey Mean SD N Component
Factor 1: Support for College from Peers and Parents
Talk at home about going to college 3.62 1.07 34 .778
Parents want me to go to college 4.88 0.33 34 .728
I want to go to college 4.74 0.51 34 .673
Talk about going to college with your friends 2.91 1.19 34 .639
Talk about going to college at school 3.53 1.02 34 .557
It is important to take challenging classes in high school, so you are prepared for college 4.65 0.49 34 .557
Factor 2: Perceived Importance of College A college education will help me get a better job 4.74 0.51 34 .823
High School graduates should go onto college because in the long run they will have better jobs opportunities 4.59 0.56 34 .749
It is better to be educated rather than uneducated 4.68 0.64 34 .526
College does not affect my chances of getting a better job If you have good grades in high school, you are more likely to get into college 2.32 1.53 34 -.462
4.56 0.82 34 .458
Factor 3: Fears About Academic Performance Worry about the impression you make on others 3.21 1.27 34 .782
Feel optimistic about your future at college 3.79 1.12 34 .685
Worry about how you perform academically at school 3.15 1.33 34 .617
Worried about going to college 2.59 1.26 34 .431
Factor 4: Teacher support for college and personal determination Most Teachers encourage me to go to college 4.50 0.83 34 .801
Consider dropping out of school 1.35 0.73 34 -.773
Most of my friends are interested in going to college 4.50 0.83 34 .455
Eigenv Cu

alue
%
Factor 1 2.98 15.7
0%
Factor 2 2.59 29.3
4%
Factor 3 2.37 41.8
0%
F actor 4 2.09 52.8
2%
73


Codes and Description
Themes/Codes Sub Codes Child Description of Codes
Codes
Attitude Change (AC) Value of Learning Modification of an individuals general evaluative perception (Cacioppo, Petty, & Crites, 1994). The students individual motivation toward higher education has evolved due to the intervention of the enrichment program!s).
Behavior Changes (BC) Confidence The student has changed his or her approach to activities that help them think and react differently toward higher education and life in general. Others witness changes in personal mannerisms and actions.
Belief Changes (BFC) Thinks differently about college Through conscious thought or messages received from others, the students confidence in their personal ability changes. Personal truths.
Motivation (M) Motivation; Education Goal to College; Career Choice; Strive for good grades STEM Fields Does the student see himself or herself going to college? Are they working towards that goal? (Example: getting good grades, taking advantage of tutoring, etc...)
Opportunities (O) Parent/Family Involvement; Neighborhood Center; Teache rs/Scho ol Person nel; Assista nee and Suppor t; After School Involve ment; College 4 Y.O.U. Tutorin Benefits or disadvantages that a person attains from their social environment. This could be economic benefits, educational opportunities, resource sharing, and relationships with others (Networking).
74


g (BUG)
Skills (S) A students ability changes, whether through practice or knowledge.
75


Excerpts from focus groups transcriptions
Themes/Codes Examples of Excerpts
Attitude Changes (AC) She was pretty closed-minded, now she has a more open mind when we are talking with her, she knows more stuff around her, its not a small world they say its a big world and she has to open, expand her horizons, to expand her ability to understand everything else, not just what she thinks in that moment. Shes more open-minded a lot.
Behavior Changes (BC) I used to not care about my grades until I heard I can get held back if I dont do my homework or try to bring up my grade. She goes afterschool at North and sometimes she dont get done till, like tonight 5:00 when she got done over there. Because she wants to make sure her grades are up there. Thats all their doing, I dont tell them you have to do this. They just want to do it. Eve changed because now I turn in homework and actually have the answers.
Belief Changes (BFC) [Referring to College 4 Y.O. U.J Well, I thought it was going to be very hard and boring but it isnt. Because I didnt know what to expect.
Motivation (M) I would be the first person to go to my college and stay through. My mom, she has a good job and stuff, but she always says how she wished she would have finished college earlier because then it could have opened a lot more opportunities and I want those opportunities so I think that it would be better to go to college.
Opportunities (O) You get to take trips, learn more about it, and do more fun activities. The trips, cuz when we get there, they explain how it helps you improve. I was at a 4th grade reading level in 5th grade, so they put me in the Neighborhood Center, and ever since, now Em at 7th grade level and Em an 8th grader.
Skills (S) I am making friends here now. [Parent speaking about his son] Tie is a much better speaker now because of it. Tie speaks in front of Skinner with the parents and stuff. I think it really helped him with that type of talent. [Parent speaking about his son] The whole thing with having to work on a team, having to do a project, just builds confidence, and hes a lot more at ease working with other kids. Thats important, very important.
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APPENDIX C
PROBLEM STATEMENT
According to Duncan-Andrade (2008), our society is built on a pyramid structure with no room at the top for the masses:
The fact that opportunity exists (currently defined as all children having access to public schools) helps maintain the rhetoric of a democratic and meritocratic society.. .ultimately benefiting society as a whole by rewarding the most deserving. And it just so happens that the overwhelming majority of those who benefit most from this sorting process are those who look, talk, think, and act most like those who already have power. And it just so happens that the overwhelming majority of those who benefit least from this sorting process are those who come from different backgrounds and communities than those who already have power (p.4).
This problem, which we have been battling for decades, stems from a number of inequalities shared by those do not have the power in todays society. Some of these inequalities that hinder populations from underserved and distressed communities are perpetual lack of preparation, access, networking, and mentorship for many students to enter higher education. Several components contribute to the problem, including (a) urban high schools, which often lack resources to adequately prepare their underrepresented students for institutions of higher education, (b) policy decision makers, who sometimes put their personal needs and wants in front of their constituents and communities needs, (c) familial support, where family or significant adult involvement
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at home and school is lacking in regards to academic achievement (Tierney & Auerbach, 2005), and (d) higher education, where the problem of access, academic and personal support, retention and graduation of a diverse student population persists after the few are admitted among the many (Winkle-Wagner & Locks, 2014). This can be seen by how colleges and universities have still not succeeded in creating welcoming campus climates.
Literature Review
Building upon the research that early exposure to college increases the possibility of college enrollment and graduation rates (Loza, 2003; Gullatt & Jan, 2003), my study examines if a students attitude, beliefs and/or behaviors towards higher education is influenced by their involvement in the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre-Collegiate Program at Skinner Middle School (Skinner) offered through the Skinner Neighborhood Center (Center). According to Trilling (2010), middle school is a crucial time when students grow their hopes and commitments for success in school, in future work, in family and community lifeor not (p. 9). College-track planning needs to occur before 8th grade in order to develop and maintain college aspirations (Tierney, Corwin & Colyar, 2005). By expanding efforts to middle school students, institutions of higher education can bring positive experiences in the areas of education and higher education, which will ultimately enhance the likelihood they seek a higher education degree in the future. For example, Skinner is one such middle school in the Northwest Denver area that has established enduring college exposure programs.
Not only because of their ongoing pre-collegiate programs, Skinner was chosen because of the schools location, the demographics of the student population (based on ethnicity and income), and the dramatic increase in the 2012 Transitional Colorado
78


Assessment Program (TCAP) scores.
Skinner is located in the northwest region of the Denver Public School District, [which] has a population of 76,038, and over 17,000 in poverty. Nearly 80% of students attending Denver Public Schools fall below the poverty line, creating segregation between those who have access to services and those who do not (Zion, 2012, p. 3). The Northwest Denver area is bordered on the west by Sheridan Boulevard, on the north by 52nd Avenue, on the east by 1-25 and on the south by 6th Avenue (ibid, p. 9). This area is unique because income levels of those residing within the Skinner boundaries range from upper class to below poverty. As Zion (2012) indicates, this allows aggregated data to mask the needs in the community, and making it difficult to identify those families who need support (p.3). This complexity creates both possibilities and challenges for those living in the area. With the influx of upper-class families moving into the neighborhood, this may possibly lead to influential community member using their resources and social capital to impact the schools and the community, resulting in gentrification. Thus, making it harder for lower income community members to afford to live in their own community.
State and Nation
In the State of Colorado, 57% of the graduating high school seniors enrolled in public postsecondary institutions in 2011 and of that percentage, only 28% are enrolled in 4-year Colorado institutions of higher education (Colorado Department of Higher Education, 2013). These numbers are astonishingly low, yet the numbers are even worse for Latino/a American students. According to the Legislative Report on The Postsecondary Progress and Success of High School Graduates report (2013), While
79


Hispanic students made up one fourth of the high school graduating class, they account for less than one fifth of the students who went to college in the fall of 2011 (p.9).
Nationally, Colorado has the second greatest disparity of college degree attainment between Whites and Latinos (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2009-2011). Which is depicted in the bar graph below (Figure 1). This means that
Colorado youth lag far behind academically compared to the majority of other states.
1
Difference in College Attainment Between Whites and Hispanics 25 -44 Year-Olds
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS/ 3-Year Estimates Public Use Microdata Sample 2009-2011
Figure 1. Difference in College Attainment Between Whites and Hispanic
To make matters worse, the largest percentage of students that do not enroll in institutions of higher education are those that receive free or reduced price lunch. This percentage has steadily increased 9.6% from 2009 to 2011 (p. 9). However, as indicated in the Legislative Report on The Postsecondary Progress and Success of High School Graduates report (2013) Latino/a students are most likely to receive free or reduced price
80


lunch and those who are eligible have the lowest college-going rate at 35.6%. This means that, nearly 52% of all Hispanic high school graduates in 2011 received free or reduced price lunch (p. 11). These numbers indicate that well over half of the Latino/a students graduating from high schools in Colorado will not enroll in college after graduation.
Nationally, the numbers are very similar to Colorado with the exception of Maine, Vermont and New Jersey, whose high school graduation rates are above 86% (National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. 2009). So, as indicated in the data, there is a wide educational disparities gap that needs to be addressed nationally.
Skinner Middle School
Built in 1922 as a junior high, Skinner has transformed into a 21st century middle school that consist of 6th, 7th and 8th grade levels directed at preparing all students for college entrance instead of just getting them ready to move on to high school. Currently there are 372 students that attend Skinner (Denver Public Schools Enrollment Snapshots). Of the 372 students, 81.5% are on free or reduced price lunch and 79.8% are considered ethnic minority. The student body population comprises of 71% Latino students, which is the largest group, 20% White students, 3% African American students, 1% Asian American students and 2% American Indian students.
Under the leadership of principal Michelle Koyama, Skinner has gone from an orange school to a green school. Denver Public Schools uses a five-color school performance framework (SPF) rating evaluation that takes into account a variety of factors, including how a school supports academic growth, academic proficiency, college readiness and family/parent satisfaction (Denver Public Schools School Performance
81


Framework). The five-color rating ranges from red (accredited on probation) to blue (distinguished). The following table (Table 1) provides the definition of the five colors (Denver Public Schools School Performance Framework).
Table 1 (The School Performance Framework)
Blue Green Yellow Orange Red
Distinguished Meets Expectations Accredited on Accredited on Accredited on
Watch Priority Watch Probation
Schools rated Schools that Meet Schools are rated Schools rated Schools rated
Distinguished are Expectations are performing at as Accredited on Accredited on Accredited on
exceeding district the level that the district Watch when they Priority Watch are Probation are
expectations and expects and have high ratings are performing performing performing
have very high in either the area of Academic below the districts significantly below significantly
ratings in both Growth or Academic expectations. expectations and below
Academic Growth Proficiency, or the school has Improvement is are expected to expectations
and Academic good ratings in both areas. needed on either dramatically and are
Proficiency. Academic Growth improve student expected to
Schools in this category that or Academic achievement. dramatically
have seen a decline in student Proficiency Accredited on improve student
performance from previous measures. Priority Watch performance.
years receive increased schools receive Accredited on
instructional supports, such as Schools in this intensive Probation
assistance with enhanced category receive instructional schools receive
training for the schools staff. intensive supports, such as intensive
instructional enhanced, targeted instructional
supports, such as training for the supports, such
enhanced, targeted schools staff. as enhanced.
training for the consultation on targeted training
schools staff. curriculum and for the schools
consultation on assistance using staff.
curriculum and data to increase consultation on
assistance using student curriculum and
data to increase achievement. assistance using
student data to increase
achievement. These schools are student
subject to achievement.
Accredited on interventions that
Watch schools that may include Accredited on
show a lack of changes to Probation
improvement from academic programs schools require
previous years may or school staff or additional
be subject to implementation of budget review.
interventions such school-turnaround and the district
as replacement of strategies. may provide
staff or a change in additional
the academic financial
program. resources to
help the school improve. These schools are subject to interventions that may include changes to academic
programs or
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school staff or implementation of school-turnaround strategies.
This means that Skinner has circumvented being deemed a turn around school, in which the school would have been forced to close for a year while the district restructured curriculum with new leadership and teachers in an effort to improve test scores. Instead, Skinner had the highest net median growth percentile of all traditional middle schools in Denver Public Schools (Skinner Middle School, 2014). On the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP), Colorados standards-based assessment designed to provide a picture of student performance to schools, districts, educators, parents and the community. From 2011 to 2012 Skinner saw the 7th grade math proficiency increase from 18.7% to 33% for a total increase 14%. While both writing proficiency and reading proficiency increased around 10% (Colorado Department of Education Assessment). In comparison to other Denver Public Schools 6th & 7th grade students, Skinner students had a higher proficiency in math, reading, and writing than the district average (Skinner Middle School). This accomplishment is good, considering that research indicates that students with similar backgrounds as the majority of students attending Skinner, they should be struggling academically and not succeeding as well as they are doing (Duncan-Andrade & Ernest Morrell, 2008).
The Neighborhood Center
The Neighborhood Center at Skinner Middle School is a nonprofit grant-funded program, in the Department of Extended Learning, a branch of the Denver Public School. The Center was first established to Horace Mann Middle School in 1997 prior to it being
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moved to Skinner Middle School in 2005. The mission of the Center is to provide, Students and families access to diverse range of out-of-school time programming intended to meet the needs of Skinner students and the Northwest Denver community. Through academic support, high school readiness, STEM, athletics, college awareness, and project-based learning(Skinner Middle School). The Center hosts a number of student activities (enrichment programs) including After School Programming, Pre-Collegiate Summer Programs, Student Organizations, Club Sports, Adult G.E.D. Courses for Spanish speakers, Family Cooking and Health Courses, Free Flu Shot Clinics, Food Bank for low-income families, Science Fair Programs, and tutoring. With the support of the Center, Skinner has been able to develop collaboration with outside entities that have provided the students, families, and community with opportunities and mechanisms that prepare youth to be academically ready to go to succeed in high school, college, and life. The resources offered at the Center are free not only for students, but for families and the surrounding community in the Northwest Denver area as well. The Center has also taken a proactive approach to engage parents in afterschool activities, community outreach, and pipeline programs, which fosters intellectual development and understanding of the nature of scientific research and teaches parents how to help their children succeed in higher education (Sanders & Lewis, 2005). These approaches to enhancing academic achievement among these students are but a few of the opportunities in hopes of increasing access and persistence in higher education for underserved and distressed students.
Enrichment Programs
Similar to the belief that it takes a village to raise a child, a concept is referenced
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when a student enters the collaborative field of having mentors, shadowing professionals, and spending time on a college campus. By connecting and partnering with professionals, Skinner and the Center access additional resources, mentorships, and internships for their students benefit (Read, 2011). In their research, Barlow and Villarejo (2004) found that partnerships and collaborations between K-12 institutions, institutions of higher education, and community collaborations are vital to the success of enrichment programs at both an institutional level and an external level. Through partnerships, graduation rates of certain groups of students should be enhanced, while providing future career or schooling options for students to pursue.
Enrichment programs providing academic enrichment, personal support and research experiences can substantially improve the retention of underrepresented minority students (Barlow and Villarejo, 2004). A key component of enrichment programs has been developing a network of institutions of higher education and professional experts to serve as advisors and mentors to program participants. Setting high expectation for these students, with the means to accomplish their goals with limited barriers should be a joint effort, including the students, parents, and school personnel (McDonough, 2005). Barlow and Villarejo assert that the substantial investment of resources required to mount such comprehensive programs is an investment well spent and should be continued (p. 877). Even though it is still early to confirm if Skinners investment has come to fruition of college attendees, the participants of the College 4 Y.O.U. program have been equipped with the skills that should make their transition into higher education simpler.
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College 4 Y.O.U.
Students participating in this comprehensive pre-collegiate program meet weekly after school to engage in college prep workshops. Once a month the students, parents and program director visit one area college campus during the academic year to learn about college enrollment processes and what each college has to offer. During these visits students are provided the opportunity to network with college personnel.
Table 2. (College 4 Y.O.U. College Visitation Academies for 2012-2014)
Date: Host Campus Site:
October 26, 2013 University of Colorado at Boulder
November 9, 2013 Colorado State University (Fort Collins)
December 7, 2013 Arapahoe Community College
January 18, 2014 University of Colorado Anschutz Medical School
February 15, 2014 Colorado School of Mines
March 22,2014 Community College of Aurora
April 19, 2014 Regis University
May 30-31,2014 College 4 Y.O.U. Year-end Retreat, Balarat Outdoor Experience
Students can also participate in five different summer camps where they spend 3-4 days at an area college or university, getting a taste of campus life and enjoying hand-on workshops taught by professors.
Table 3. (Summer Experience 2013-2014)
Academic Focus: Host Campus Site:
Business & Entrepreneurship University of Colorado at Boulder
Engineering Colorado School of Mines
Agricultural Science, Natural Resources, Computer Animation, Construction Management and Fine Arts Colorado State University
Education University of Colorado at Denver
Health Careers and Basic Sciences University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
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Full Text

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CHANGING MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS' ATTITUDE S BELIEFS AND BEHAVIORS TOWARDS HIGHER EDUCATION THROUGH ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS by DOMINIC FLOYD MARTINEZ B.A., University of Wyoming, 1999 M.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2010 A thesis s ubmitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the d egree of Doctor of Education Leadership of Educational Equality Program 2014

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ii This thesis for the Doctor of Education degree by Dominic Floyd Martinez has been approved for the Leadership for Educational Equality Program by Shelley Zion, Advisor & Co Chair Alan Davis, Co Chair Raul Cardenas May 1, 2014

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iii Martinez, Dominic Floyd (Ed.D., Leadership for Educational Equity ) Changing Middle S chool S tudents' A ttitude s, Beliefs and B ehaviors towards Higher Education through Enrichment P rograms Thesis directed by Execut ive Director Shelley Zion and Associate Professor Alan Davis ABSTRACT President Barack Obama's Promise Neig hborhood Program began in 2011 with the objective of infusing underserved communities with the beliefs and opportunities ne cessary to prepare youth to be academica lly ready to go to college. The University of Colorado's proposal, Northwest Promise Neighbor hood (NWPN): Ensuring Educational Access, Cradle to Career, set goals to provide services supporting children and families to overcome barriers in achieving higher education. The NWPN targeted area is comprised of twelve Denver, Colorado neighborhoods, fou r public housing family developments, and thirteen focus schools The focus of this study is on Skinner Middle School, a NWPN school, which is comprised of residents ranging from upper class to below poverty. T he two largest demographic groups at Skinner a re Latino/a students and those eligible for f ree or reduced price lunch and data shows that these two groups have the lowest college going rates. However, Skinner 's Neighborhood Center has developed academic enrichment programs that ha ve assisted these st udents in creating future realistic goals whether through higher education or not The enrichment module used for this study is the Neighborhood Center's College 4 Y.O.U Program where 6 th 7 th and 8 th graders meet weekly to learn about college processes, visit local colleges, and network with college personnel. Using a mixed method research approach I examined how Skinner's College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate Program has influenced its participants' attitude, beliefs and/or

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iv behaviors toward higher education. M ultiple methods of data collection (i.e., student survey, parent/adult sponsor focus groups and participating College 4 Y.O.U. student focus groups) were summarized using both quantitat ive and qualitative approaches. This study has demonstrated that the C ollege 4 Y.O.U. program has afforded participants the opportunities to develop meaningful relationships that will assist with their future successes. These relationships have positively influenced their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors toward higher educat ion. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Shelley Zion and Alan Davis

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v SYNOPSIS In 2012, Shelley Zion, Ph.D., faculty member and executive director in School of Education and Human Development at t he University of Colorado Denver submitted a federally funded Pro mise Neighborhood grant proposal entitled Northwest Promise Neighborhood (NWPN): Ensuring Educational Access, Cradle to Career This proposal focused on the underserved communities and schools in the Northwest Denver area with efforts "to provide wraparound services that support all children in the target area to achieve in school, college, and career, and provide families access to the services, information, and resources they need to overcom e barriers and support their childrens success" (Zion, 2012, p. 15 ). The fundamental goal of the NWPN is that all community members have equal access to education and provisions for a successful transition to college and careers. The current problem is t hat schools and districts are becoming more segregated over time, and wealthier communities continue to have better educational opportunities and resources than those of lower income and diverse communities. This problem stems from numerous reasons ranging from less mentoring and networking opportunities among distressed communities to low retention and graduation rates of diverse student populations due to lack of community, school, and familial support. As Colorado 's largest and fastest growing minority population ; the percentage of Latino/a high school graduates that have attended college compared to the percentage of white high school graduates is significantly lower. In 2009, the Latino/a high school graduation rates was 57% compared to 82% for white s tudents, even though the Latino/a graduation rates increased in 2012 2013 to 65%, while the white student graduation rates remained the same at 82%, t here remains an a 17% graduation rate disparities gap

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vi between these two groups Nationally, Colorado has t he second greatest disparity of college attainme nt between w hites and Latino /a (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2009 2011) As indicated in this study's data, there is a wide educational disparities gap that needs to be addressed natio nally and locally. It was expected that a community endeavor such as the NWPN could monumentally assist in closing the educational disparities gap in Colorado Even though the proposal was not funded, Skinner Middle School (Skinner) one of the thirteen s chools focus schools mentioned in the NWPN proposal, was selected as this study's research site. More specifically, the College 4 Y.O.U. (Young Outstanding Urbanites) Pre Collegiate Program located in the Neighborhood Center (Center) at Skinner was chosen as the study site for multiple reasons; a) their enduring early intervention college exposure programs, b) the school's location, c) the demographics of the student population based upon ethnicity and income, d) the increase in the 2012 Transitional Colora do Assessment Program ( TCAP) scores, e) personal and working relationship with the Center staff and f) the existing relationship that Skinner and the Center has with the NWPN proposal authors. Knowing that middle school is a crucial time in an adolescent 's life and college track planning needs to occur before the 8 th grade (Trilling, 2010). The College 4 Y.O.U. program, which serves diverse and underserved 6 th 7 th and 8 th grade students and their parents, play a vital role in connecting their participan ts to academic and college networking opportunities. This is done through college visits and summer programs, where participants learn about application processes, areas of study, requirements for college enrollment and familiarity with college life.

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vii Rese arch has shown that even though enrichment programs have served as the catalyst that sparks a students' interest in higher education, it is simply not enough. Applying St. John, Hu & Fisher's (2011) Academic Capital Formation (ACF) theory to the study as t he conceptual framework, I was able to gain insight into the factors that influence the interactions and relationships developed between students, parents and the College 4 Y.O.U. program. Simultaneously, I was able to establish an understanding on how the se factors influence the students' attitudes and beli efs about higher education. In their research on pre collegiate enrichment programs they argue that college going is not only about human capital individual knowledge and skills. It is influenced by the resources provided to one by his or hers' social network (social capital) and the acquisition of skills gained by one over time (cultural c apital) (Dumais & Ward, 2010). Building upon ACF, I used a fully mixed method sequential eq ual status research app roach to examine how the College 4 Y.O.U. program has influenced its participants' attitude s, beliefs and behaviors towards higher education. Data was collected using a student surve y, focus groups with students and parents and an interview with the coord inator of the program The finding showed that both parents and students had overwhelmingly expressed that positive changes have occurred in their homes with regard to college education because of their interaction with the program Although the College 4 Y.O.U. program is not the sole influential factor contributing to attitude and behavioral changes toward higher education 76% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that they are more confident in believing they could go to college because of their in volvement in the program When asked, what has been most valuable about the program, the responses

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viii have been learning about colleges and visiting them. Several parents stated that they decided to send their children to Skinner because of the Pre Collegiate program that is offer ed. Barriers that can be foreseen are financial support and leadership changes. This study has demonstrated that e nrichment programs, including College 4 Y.O.U. can bring about behavioral changes that assist in solving complex probl ems, like changing students' attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors toward higher education by engaging them in the process earlier in their school years. By engaging with these students, parents/adult sponsors, and communities, institutions of higher education can develop a better understanding of how to provide these students with the right support, both academically and emotionally, to be successful at their institution.

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ix To my family and friends from the Southside of Rawlins, Wyoming It really does take a village to raise a child! Thank you for having a hand in shaping me into the person that I am today.

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x ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This dissertation has been a culmina tion of my passion and desire for helping young diverse students from underserved communities ac hieve turning their dreams into reality. A special thanks goes to Michelle Koyama, Dirk Boden, Brittnee Kidder Davis, Ron Gallegos, Sandy Baca Sandoval, College 4 Y.O.U. participants and their pa rents at Skinner Middle School and the Neighborhood Center. T hank you for allowing me to invade your space. Your dedication to serving diverse students is incomparable. You bring HOPE to these students Thank you t o the University of Colorado Denver School of Education and Human Development 's faculty and staff for the support and assistance that I receive d Especially, thank you to Dr. Shelley Zion and Dr. Alan Davis for their undivided support and leadership. Without them I would not have been able to get through the program and dissertation process. Thank s for inspiring me to step outside my comfort zone. Shout out to my cohort sisters, Terri, Kim, Rebecca and Lisa, for all their support and encouragement. Our cohort bond will never be broken. To the dissertation committee, Dr. Zion, Dr. Davis and Dr. Raul Cardena s, thank you for taking time out of your schedule to support and mentor me. I am grateful to have you in my life as colleagues and friends! To t he Office of Inclusion and Outreach staff, i t means a lot to know that I have a g roup of friends that w ill always have my back Vicky, Christian, Medhat, and Bridget, you are truly four of the most amazing people I know and I will forever be indebted to you. Bridget, thank you for constant feedback and tutoring. Vicky, my prayers and love are with you dur ing these difficult times. Finally, with the support of my family, both immediate and extended, I have been

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xi able to manage all my responsibilities and demands of fatherhood, being a husband, being a full time student and work with ease and confidence. Thank you, Mom, Dad, Consuelo and Jeanette for watching over the kids w hile I was in class/ studying and for always cheer ing me on. Mom and Dad, thank you for being amazing parents, friends and role models. I truly owe everything to you. It is hard to belie ve that the little boy who stuttered for years made something of his life. Foremost, thanks and love go es to my beautiful wife Amber and three amazing childre n, Tiegan Cho Teya Consuelo and Kiyoshi Benjamin T hank you for under standing, supporting an d sacrificing the past three years so I could turn my dream into a reality I would not be the person I am today without the love and s upport I receive from you all. No words can express what you a ll mean to me. I love you all. I hope I make you proud!

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xii TABLE OF CONTEN T S CHAPTERS !"# INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 1 Background ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 2 # Problem Statement ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 4 # State and National Context ................................ ................................ ............................. 6 # Ea rly Intervention ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 9 # II. RESEARCH QUESTION ................................ ................................ ............................ 10 # Skinner Middle School ................................ ................................ ................................ 11 # The Neighborhood Center ................................ ................................ ............................. 12 # III. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK ................................ ................................ ............... 16 # Human Capital ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 18 # Cultural Capital ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 18 # Social Capital ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 22 # IV. RESEARCH METHOD ................................ ................................ ............................. 24 # Survey ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 24 # Focus Groups ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 25 # Interview with the Coordinator ................................ ................................ ..................... 25 # Coding and Categories ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 25 # V. FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 27 # Quantitative Approach ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 27 # Qualitative Approach ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 33 #

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xiii Summary of the Findings ................................ ................................ .............................. 37 # VI. IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ................................ ..................... 39 # Academic Capital Formation ................................ ................................ ........................ 39 # Partn erships and Collaborations ................................ ................................ ................... 40 # Leadership ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 41 # Funding Resources ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 43 # Family Involvement ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 44 # Continuous Research ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 45 # VII. CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 46 # REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 48 # APPENDIX A. RESEARCH METHOD ................................ ................................ ............................... 53 # Sampling ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 54 # Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 55 # Data An alysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 57 # Quantitative Approach ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 58 # Qualitative Approach ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 58 # Study Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 59 # Survey ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 61 # B. ANALYTICAL WO RK ................................ ................................ ............................... 66 # Data Collection Schedule: Survey and Focus Groups ................................ .................. 68 # Codes and Description ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 74 #

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xiv C. PROBLEM STATEMENT ................................ ................................ .......................... 77 # Literature Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 78 # State and Nation ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 79 # Skinner Middle School ................................ ................................ ................................ 81 # The Neighborhood Center ................................ ................................ ............................. 83 # Enrichment Programs ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 84 # College 4 Y.O.U. ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 86 #

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1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people that prepare for it today" (Malcolm X). In an effort to close the educational disparity gap among underserved and distre ssed communities, the Obama administration announced in 2011 the first round of Promise Neighborhood program grants, which is based on Geoffrey Canada's Harlem Children's Zone (Dervarics, 2011). Influenced by the success of the Harlem Children's Zone's "c radle to career" services, the Promise Neighborhood program's objectives are to infuse underserved and distressed communities with the beliefs, opportunities and mechanisms necessary to prepare youth to be academica lly ready to go to college (Dervarics, 20 11 ). By developing realistic plans to create a variety of solutions that have the potential to significantly improve the educational and developmental outcomes of children and youth in an underserved and distressed neighborhood, the Promise Neighborhood p rogram hopes to impact future generations through community collaborations. This approach does not just include K 12 institutions of education, but the communities in which these students reside as well. The Promise Neighborhood program requires that ho using, human services, healthcare, community non profits, early childhood development centers, K 12 institutions and institutions of higher education partner to provide wrap around services that would not only academically prepare youth, but would also sup port youth and families physically, mentally, and emotionally to meet

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2 the rigors of higher education (Anderson, 2011). A concern with the Promise Neighborhood program is that there is limited funding, thus making it impossible to serve every underserved a nd distressed community in the United States. Background In an attempt to leverage some of the Promise Neighborhood funds and development community partnerships Shelley Zion, Ph.D., faculty member and executive director of Continuing Education and Prof essional Development at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education and Human Development, convened a group of leaders from the Northwest Denver area to begin discussing the social issues that are impacting the youth from this area. This group in cluded early childhood, K 12 and higher education educators, community leaders, non profit organizations, healthcare organizations, housing authorities, and other policy making originators. The first outcome was the creation of an inventory list of communi ty resources that could be utilized to assist the youth in the Northwest Denver Neighborhoods. The other outcome was the submission of a Promise Neighborhood Grant Proposal in 2012, with Zion serving as the Principal Investigator (PI) The proposal was t itled Northw est Promise Neighborhood (NWPN): Ensuring Educational Access, Cradle to Career. The goal of this initiative was "to provide wraparound services that support all children in the target area to achieve in school, college, and career, and provide families access to the services, information, and resources they need to overcome barriers and support their childrens success" (Zion, 2012 p. 15 ). The NWPN targeted area is comprised of twelve neighborhoods, four public housing family developments, and thirteen focus schools. A significant challenge in these neighborhoods is the in ability of

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3 service agencies to combine this cradle to career methodology into a seamless practice (Zion, 2012 ). The NWPN area is bordered on the west by Sheridan Boulevard, on the north by 52nd Avenue, on the east by I 25 and on the south by 6th Avenue. Even though this proposal was not funded in 2012, there have been signs of collective action in these neighborhoods. This process has brought community organizations, schools, an d community members together to investigate ways in which they can improve the conditions of their neighborhoods. This study aligns with the goals of the NWPN grant, which envisions that all members of the community will h ave access to great schools th at provide the necessary tools for students to successfully transition to college and a career ( Zion, 2012 ) For the purpose of this study, the College 4 Y.O.U. (Young Outstanding Urbanites) Pre Collegiate Program that is hosted through the Neighborhood Ce nter (Ce nter) at Skinner Middle School (Skinner) was selected as the study site. Skinner is located in the northwest region of the De nver Public School District. The population of this area is 76,038, with over 17,000 living below the poverty line Nearly 80% of students attending Denver Public Scho ols fall below the poverty line ( Denver Public School, 2013; Piton Foundation, 2010 ). This area is unique because income levels of those residing within the Skinner boundaries range from upper class to below pov erty. As Zion (2012) indicates, this allows "aggregated data to mask the needs in the community, and making it difficult to identify those fam ilies who need support" (p.3). This complexity creates both possibilities and challenges for those living in the a rea. With the influx of upper class families moving into the neighborhood, this may lead to influential community member s

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4 using their resources and social capital to impact the schools and the community resulting in gentrification. However, gentrification makes it harder for lower income community members to afford to live in their own community. Problem Statement Even though the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson "separate but equal" doctrine, ther e have not been many changes to our education system that guarantees equal education for all (Kozol, 1991; Espenshade & Radford, 2009). Darling Hammond (2011) argues that schools have become more segregated and less adequately resourced then quarter of a c entury ago. She continues, "the stark disparities in access to high quality education at the elementary and secondary levels translate into unequal access to higher education for low income and minority students" (Darling Hammond, 2011, p. 37). The truth i s that wealthier communities have better educational opportunities than those of lower income and diverse communities. This has resulted in fewer resources available for students from lower income and diverse communities. This problem, which we have been battling for decades, stem s from a number of inequalities shared by those who do not have the power in today's society. Some of these inequalities that hinder populations from underserved and distressed communities are perpetual lack of preparation, access networking, and mentorship for many students to enter higher education. Several components contribute to the problem, including (a) urban high schools, which often lack resources to adequately prepare their underrepresented students for i nstitutions of h igher education (Lewis & Manno, 2011), (b) p olicy makers who assume that everyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps,

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5 which results in decisions being made with these assumption at the core (c) familial support, where family or significant adult i nvolvement at home and school is lacking in regards to academic achievement (Tierney & Auerbach, 2005), and (d) higher education, where the problem of access, academic and personal support, retention and graduation of a diverse student population persists after the few are admitted among the many. This can be seen by how colleges and universities have still not succeeded in creating welcoming campus climates where lower income and diverse students still feel alienated (Winkle Wagner & Locks, 2014). Accordin g to Duncan Andrade (2008), our society is built on a pyramid structure with no room at the top for the masses : The fact that opportunity exists (currently defined as all children having access to public schools) helps maintain the rhetoric of a democrati c and meritocratic societyultimately benefiting society as a whole by rewarding the most deserving. And it just so happens that the overwhelming majority of those who benefit most from this sorting process are those who look, talk, think, and act most li ke those who already have power (p.4) Thus, the people that benefit the least from this sorting process are the ones that need it the most. This produces little to no upward mobility for the communities and people th at are in need of it the most, r esulti ng in a continuance cycle that haunts lower income and diverse student into their adult lives, where they will most likely be employed in positions that are least desirable and lacks upward socioeconomic mobility (Duncan Andrade & Morrell, 2008).

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6 State a nd National Context For the purpose of this section, attent ion has been placed upon the largest demographic groups that have been recipients of inadequate educational opportunities. Specifically, t he two largest demographic groups at Skinner are Latino/a students and those eligible for free or reduced price lunch; these groups ove rlap in most cases at Skinner. By examining national and local high school graduation rates, postsecondary enrollment and college attainment data, it is easy to notice that the ed ucational disparities gap is continually widening. Graduation r ates. In 2009 the Colorado high school graduation rates (74 .5 %) were similar to the national rates (70%) with the exception of Maine, Vermont, and New Jersey, whose high school graduation rate s were above 86% (National Center for Higher Educat ion Management Systems, 2009). Since than Colorado's high school graduation rates have increased 1.5% to 76% in 2012 2013. However, there still remains a disparity between Latino/a students and w hite stud ents graduation rate s. Latino/a graduation rates in 2009 were at 57% comp ared to 82% for w hite students, while Latino/a graduation rates increased in 2012 2013 to 65%, w hite student graduation rate s remained the same at 82%. Even though there was an increa se in Latino/a graduation rates, a 17% graduation rate gap remains between Latino/a and white student Postsecondary enrollment. In 2011, 65% of Colorado h igh school graduates were white, while Latino/a accounted for 25 % of high school graduates. Of the graduating high school seniors in the State of Colorado 57% enrolled in public postsecondary institutions in 2011 and of that 57% only 28% are enrolled in 4 year Colorado institutions of higher education while 12% went to out of state institutions

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7 ( Colorado Department of Higher Education, 2013). These numbers are low compared nationally yet the numbers are even worse for Latino/a students ( According to the Legislative Report on The Postsecondary Progress and Success o f High School Graduates report, 2013), "While Hispanic students made up one fourth of the high school graduating class, they account for less than one fifth of the students who went to coll ege in the fall of 2011" (p.9) compared to the 71% of white students that enrolled in college Of the Colorado students that enrolled into college right after high school graduation, 37% received Federal Pell grants, which are need based grants to low income undergraduate Within ethnic groups, 57 % of those that received Federal Pell grants were Lati no/a, compared to 28% white. Making matters worse, the largest percentage of students that do not enroll in institutions of higher education are those that receive free or reduced price lunch. The percentage of college enrollment rates for this populati on has steadily declined "a 9.6% decrease between 2009 and 2011 ( Legislative Report on t he Postsecondary Progress and Success of High School Graduates report 2013, p. 9). However, as indicate d in the Legislative Report on t he Postsecondary Progress and Success of High School Graduates report (2013) Latino/a student s are most likely to receive free or reduced price lunch and those who are eligible have the lowest college going rate at 35.6%. This means that, "nearly 52% of all Hispanic high school gradua tes in 2011 received free or reduced price lunch" (p. 11). These numbers indicate that well over half of the Latino/a students graduating from high schools in Colorado will not enroll in college after graduation. College attainment. Nationally, Colorado h as the second greatest disparity of college attainme nt between w hites and Latino /a next to Nebraska (U.S. Census Bureau,

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8 American Community Survey (ACS), 2009 2011) This information is depicted in the bar graph below (Figure 1). Figure 1. Difference i n College Attainment Between Whites and Hispanic So, as indicated in the data, there is a wide educational disparities gap that needs to be addressed nationally. In particular at a local level, Latino/a students constitute Colorado's largest and fastest gr owing minority population. The percentage of Latino/a high school graduates that have attended college compared to the percentage of white high school graduates is significantly lower. A s the population of Latino/a continues to increase in Colorado, there is a chance that high school graduation rates, postsecondary enrollment and college attainment between Latino/a and white students will become significantly larger unless a solution to these issues are resolved. Along with the issue s surrounding

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9 graduation rates, postsecondary enrollment and college attainment, there are other systematic issues that need to be addressed including high school dropout rates and access for undocumented populations. Early Intervention Even though data has shown that students that are Latino/a and are on free or reduced lunch have the lowest college going rates, there has been consensus among researchers that early intervention enrichment programs increase the chances and choices of postsecondary education for its participants (Chambers & Deller, 2011). However, it is a matter of achieving the right mix of program components whether, it is networking, role models, college visit opportunities, or academic support. One such early intervention program has been examined for this s tudy. T he College 4 Y.O.U program at Skinner was developed to assist students by encouraging them to lo ok towards the future, whether it is higher education or not.

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10 CHAPTER II RESEARCH QUESTION Building upon the research that early exposure to college in creases the possibility of college enrollment and graduation rates (Loza 2003; Gullatt & Jan, 2003), this study examine d whether student s attitud e s beliefs and behaviors toward higher education are influenced by their involvement in the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate Program at Skinner offered through t he Center According to Trilling (2010), "middle school is a crucial time when students grow their hopes and commitments for success in school, in future work, in family and community life or not" (p. 9). College track planning needs to occur before 8 th grade in order to develop and maintain college aspirations (Ti erney, Corwin & Colyar, 2005). By expanding efforts to middle school students institutions of higher education can bring positive experiences i n the areas of education and higher education, which will ultimately enhance the likelihood they seek a higher education degree in the future. By connecting with institutions of higher education Skinner and the Center access resources, mentorships, and i nternships for their s tudents' benefit (Read, 2011). In their research, Barlow and Villarejo (2004) found that partnerships and collaborations between K 12 institutions, institutions of higher education, and community collaborations are vital to the succes s of enrichment programs at both an institutiona l level and an external level. By increasing the amount of time underserved student s spend on a college campus earlier in life graduation rates of these populations should be enhanced, while providing future career or schooling options for them to pursue.

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11 Skinner was chosen as the study site for multiple reasons; a) their enduring early intervention college exposure programs, b) the school's location, c) the demographics of the student population based upon ethnicity and income d) the increase in the 2012 Transitional Colorado Assessment Program ( TCAP) scores e) personal and working relationship with the Center staff and f ) the existing relationship that Skinner and the Center has with the NWPN proposal aut hors Skinner Middle School Built in 1922 as a j unior h igh, Skinner has transformed into a 21 st century middle school that consist s of 6 th 7 th and 8 th grade levels directed at preparing all students for college entrance instead of just getting them rea dy to move on to high school. Currently there are 372 students that attend Skinner (Denver Public Schools 2013 ). Of the 372 students, 81.5% are on free or reduced price lunch and 79.8% a re considered ethnic minority. The student body population comprises of 71% Latino students, which is the largest group, 20% White students, 3% African American students, 1% Asian American students and 2% American Indian students (Denver Public Schools 2013 ). D enver public school's performance f ramework Denver Pu blic Schools uses a five color School Performance F ramework (SPF) rating that takes into account a variety of factors, including how a school supports academic growth, academic proficiency, college readiness and family/parent satisfaction (Denver Public Schools School Performance Framework). The five color rating ranges from red (accredited on proba tion) to blue (distinguished) (Appendix C) Under the leade rship of p rincipal Michelle K oyama, Skinner has gone from an

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1 2 orange school (Accredited on Priority Watch ) to a green school (Meets Expectations) T his means that Skinner has circumvented being deemed a turn around school, in which the school would have been forced to close for a year while the district restructured curriculum with new leadership and teachers in an effort to improve test scores. Instead, Skinner "had the highest net median growth percentile of all traditional middle schools in Denver Public Schools o n the Transitional Co lorado Assessment Program (TCAP)" (Skinner Middle School 2014). TCAP is C olorado's standards based assessment designed to provide a picture of student performance to schools, districts, educators, parents and the community. From 2011 to 2012 Skinner saw the 7 th grade math proficiency increase from 18.7% to 33% for a total incre ase 14%. During the same period, the percent of students proficient in reading and in writing both increase around 10% (Colorado Department of Education 201 4 ). In comparison to other Denver Public Schools' 6 th and 7 th grade students, Skinner students had a higher proficiency in math, reading, and writing than the district av erage (Skinner Middle School 2013 ). This accomplishment is significant considering that research indicates most students with similar backgrounds are struggling academically and not su cceeding as well as the students at Skinner (Duncan Andrade & Ernest Morrell, 2008). The Neighborhood C enter Serving as the hub for enrichment programs at Skinner, t he missi on of the Center is to provide students and families access to "a diverse ra nge of out of school time programming intended to meet the needs of Skinner students and t he Northwest Denver community, t hrough academic support, high school readiness, STEM, athletics, college awareness, and project based learning" (Skinner Middle School 2013 ). T he Center is a

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13 nonprofit gra nt funded program in the Department of Extended Learning, a branch of the Denver Public School s The Center was first established at Horace Mann Middle School in 1997 and was moved to Skinner in 2005. The Center hosts a number of student activities ( enrichment programs) including After School Programming, Pre Collegiate Summer Programs, Student Organizations, Club Sports, Adult G.E.D. Courses for Spanish speakers, Family Cooking and Health Courses, Free Flu Shot Clinics Food Bank for low income families, Scienc e Fair Programs, and tutoring. These e nrichment programs offered at Skinner are providing academic enrichment, personal s u pport and research experiences that can substantially improve the retention of underreprese nted minority students (Barlow and Villarejo, 2004). A key component of enrichment programs has been developing a network of institutions of higher education and professional experts to serve as advisors and mentors to program participants. Setting high e xpectation for these students, with the means to accomplish their goals by eliminating or minimizing barriers, should be a joint effort between the students, parents, and schoo l personnel (McDonough, 2005). With the support of the Center, Skinner has been able to develop collaboration with outside entities that have provided the students, families, and community with opportunities and mechanisms that prepare youth to be academically ready to succeed in the future. Barlow and Villarejo (2004) assert that "th e substantial investment of resources required to mount such comprehensive programs is an investment well spent and should be continued" (p. 877). Even though it is still early to confirm if Skinner's investment has resulted in increase college attendance the participants of the College 4 Y.O.U. program have been equipped with the skills that should make their transition into hig her education

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14 simpler. The resources offered at the Center are free not only for students, but for families and the surrounding c ommunity in the Northwest Denver area as well. The Center has taken a proactive approach to engage parents in afterschool activities, community outreach, and pipeline programs, which fosters intellectual development and understanding of the nature of scien tific research and teaches parents how to help their children succeed in higher education (Sanders & Lewis, 20 05). These approaches to enhancing academic achievement are but a few of the opportunities in hopes of increasing access and persistence in higher education for underserved and distressed students. College 4 Y.O.U Modeled after the University of Colorado Pre Collegiate Development Program (PCDP) that was established in 1988 the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate Program has been the Centers' signatur e program the last five years since the architect of the PCDP retired from the University of Colorado and began volunteer ing at the Center T he College 4 Y.O.U. was created to motivate and prepare first generation, low income and ethnic minority students f rom Skinner to successfully complete high school on a timely basis and possess the necessary skills to successfully enter and graduate from a college or university of their choice. The College 4 Y.O.U. program offer s students the opportunity to engage in a wide range of pre college activities throughout the academic year and summer Students participating in this comprehensive pre collegiate program meet every Friday afternoon after school to eng age in college prep workshops. Once a month during the academi c year, the students, parents and program director visit one area college campus during the academic year to learn about college enrollment processes and what each college has to offer During these visits students are

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15 provided the opportunity to network w ith college personnel. Students can also participate in five different summer camps where they spend three to four days at an area college or university, getting a taste of campus life and enjoying hand on workshops taught by college professors. T he ages o f the participants range from 11 years old to 14 years old. There are currently 44 students that participate in the College 4 Y.O.U. pr ogram. Of those 44 participants 48% are male and 52% are female. The ethnic breakdown is 59% Latino, 7% American Indian and 34% white (Neighborhood Center, 2014).

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16 CHAPTER III CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK According to Gullatt and Jan (2003), providing only pre collegiate programs and enrichment programs is not enough to raise college enrollment rates. Even though it has been pro jected that offering these opportunities will spark students' interest in higher education, research shows that this is simply not enough. In order to serve students from an underserved and distressed community, it is essential to understand some of the un derlying forces that impact first generation, low income, and ethnic minority students. The framework for this study combines theories of human, cultural, and social capital into one conceptual framework, known as Academic Capital Formation (ACF). ACF ex amines the ways in which a student gains academic, social and financial access into college. Unlike some of the other capitals that depend solely on one factor, ACF is made up of m any different factors, which connect one's financial background, social netw orking, and academic preparation (Winkle Wagner & Locks, 2014). In their research on pre collegiate enrichment programs that were geared toward first generation, low income and ethnic minority students, St. John, Hu & Fisher (2011) theorize that college go ing is not only about human capital individual knowledge and skills. It is influenced by the resources provided to one by his or hers' social network (social capital) and the acquisition of skills gained by one over time (cultural capital) (Dumais & Ward, 2010). Applying ACF to the study, I have been able to gain insight into the factors that influence the interactions and relationships developed between the students and the College 4 Y.O.U. program. Simultaneously, I was able to establish an understan ding of

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17 how these factors influence the students' attitudes and beliefs about higher education. St. John and colleagues' academic capital formation framework (Figure 2 ) illustrates the combined social processes and pattern transformation that engage s tuden ts in overcoming barriers. These processes include easing concerns about cost, supportive networks in schools and communities, navigation of systems, and trustworthy information. Adding to their ACF framework (St. John, Hu & Fisher, 2011), I show that thro ugh intervention (i.e. enrichment programs, m entoring, and academic support ) students beliefs behaviors and attitudes towards higher education can be influenced. Figure 2. Social Processes Integral to Academic Capital Formation Expounding on the human, cultural, and social capital theories, I examined how each of these theories play into, influence and effect the students' attitude, behaviors and beliefs toward higher education after engaging in the College 4 Y.O.U. program.

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18 Human Capital T he premise of human capital is having the ability to consider options when making rational decisions, w hich stems largely from econometric research that was conducted in the 1960s (Winkle Wagner, 2010). It is the ability to make choices based upon the gain ed information and knowledge one acquires overtime (i.e. competencies, social and personality attributes and cognitive abilities) According to Coleman (1988), "h uman c apital i s created by changes i n persons t hat b ring about skills a nd capabilities t hat m a ke them a ble to act in new ways (p. 100) The skills and competencies learned and attained will expand and develop becoming more e fficient and more productive when practiced and over time In relations to t he College 4 Y.O.U. program one of the major o bjective s is for the participants and their parents to develop and acquire the skills and insight that are needed and required to set attainable academic goals College 4 Y.O.U. provides these opportunities through college visits, information session, tuto ring opportunities and mentorship These opportunities provide participants insight into deciding whether earning a college degree is more lucrative and beneficial than the time a nd cost spent attending college. D oes the time and cost spent attaining a col lege degree produce greater returns including higher earnings, better jobs, or upward mobility (St. John, Hu, & Fisher ). However, essential to human capital is human agency, which is taking action toward a particular goal or result. It is up to the partici pants to decide what actions will be taken based on their new skills and knowledge gained Cultural Capital As originally theorized by Bourdieu and Passeron ( 1 977), cultural capital consists

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19 of a set of skills, habits, or behavioral repertoires that w a s established by the dominant classes as standards of functioning in society. These set of standards determined how goods /services were allocate d, which lead to or constitute high social status, for example admission to the best schools, the highest educat ional tracks fellowships, degrees and honor s (Anderson, 2012). They argued upper class monopolization of cultural capital was possible because it was unconsciously and implicitly transmitted from parents to children in the course of family life, and ther eby internalized by children as habitus (Anderson, 2012, p. 113). Because of the constant inequalities and classism in the world, Bourdieu (1986) explored what tangible non financial resources can act or serve as capital. He believed that social mobility could be attain ed through non financial social assets such as cultural awareness, formal education, education credentials, mannerisms and aesthetic preferences (Yosso, 2005; Winkle Wagner, 2010). As described by Dumais and Ward (2010), Bourdieu argued t hat cultural capital is acquired over time, mainly through the socialization process at home and through parental investment in the right' kinds of cultural training" (p. 247). These non financial social assets can be viewed as what one brings to the tabl e in regard to knowledge, skills, and abilities obtained either on their own or having it passed down from generation to generation. For example, a person's views on the educational system or style of speech are examples of generational non financial asset s. However, Kingston (2001) argues that the United States schools way of favoring certain cultural styles are directly relevant to educational attainment: T hat the cultural practices that enhance school success should not be passed off as conformity to dominant norms,' with the implication that some other norms

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20 should be just as beneficial, or even that these norms are somehow illegitimate. To do so, even implicitly, diverts attention from an important message, especially for the disadvantaged: Some cul tural practices tend to help everyone at school. They are no less worthwhile because of some presumed class linkage, nor are they incompatible with the maintenance of an y vital subcultural differences ( p. 91) Instead of framing cultural capital from a do minant class perspective, where there is only one right kind of cultural capital, it should as Kingston (2001) argues be framed from an inclusive viewpoint, where we all possess cultural capital We have learned that the experiences students gain overtime give them the language to articulate the value of the assets in their community, while considering the assets that they bring from their communities as benefiting others in the community at large. Researchers argue that even though enrichment programs may only last a few weeks, the influence they have on students can have long term effects (Li, Alfeld, Kennedy & Putallaz, 2009). Dumais and Ward (2010) argue that if students are exposed to "high arts activities" early in their lives, their comfort level at universities will be high, thus making it easier for them to adapt to the challenges of engaging in the dominant culture. According to Gaddis (2013), Rather than block upward mobility, cultural capital benefits low SES youth by allowing them to better navigate the education system and interact with educational gatekee pers whom they otherwise would not. Cultural capital allows low SES youth to fit i nto a world that values middle and high SES culture (p. 2) The opportunities afforded to lower income stu dents through enrichment programs will assist them in gaining the knowledge, language, and skills that will empower them to

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21 realize they have the aptitude and the ability to compete with middle to upper income populations. Participants are provided with in sider knowledge of how these institutions work This process is learned through observing how others interact within their social environment and the n replicating these actions for themselves ( Bandura, 1989; Bandura, 2001). What one witnesses can alter the way one believes or behaves. These behaviors and beliefs are referred to as habitus, a term that Bourdieu used to describe one's way of being For example, if a child observes his or her parents reading books everyday, he or she may do the same thing th us influencing later behaviors in their life. This could also be said about attaining a college education. If one's parents attend college and graduated with a degree, it is more likely that their child will go and complete college (Espenshade & Radford, 2 009). As Swartz (1997) explains, "a child's ambitions and expectations with regard to education and career are structurally determined products of parental and other reference group educational experience and cultural life" (as cited in Dumais & Ward, 2010) Chiu et al (2006 ) argues, " that a person's behavior is partially shaped and controlled by the influences of social network (i.e., social systems) and the person's cognition (e.g., expectations, beliefs) (p. 1874). Therefore, what a person observes t hrough social networking is processed through his or her own cognition as they take time to reflect, think about, and act upon what they have learned. This process is vital when setting personal goals or making life changing decisions. H abitus can be depen dent upon one's social position ( Dumais & Ward, 2010) I t is important to note that individuals can have multiple habitus forms and position s throughout their life One's social life at home can influence their behavior differently than how they may act or behave in a work setting.

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22 The College 4 Y.O.U. program empowers participants to articulate the strengths they bring to the academic arena from their communities Social Capital Similar to cultural capital, the foundations of social capital can be t raced to Bourdieu, and later works by Coleman and Putnam (Carpiano, 2006, p. 166). However, unlike cultural capital, which values skills or knowledge that one possesses, social capital is defined by the connections and/or networks that a person or a commun ity possesses (Acar, 2011). Woolcock and Narayan (2000) summarize this concept by stating, "It's not what you know, it's who you know" (p. 225). These connections and/or networks could lead to opportunities that could open doors to many possibilities for a student's future. Sandefur and Lauma nn (1998 ) expand s more on this concept of social capital by arguing, An individual's potential stock of social capital consists of the collection and pattern of relationships in which she is involved and to which she has access, and further to the location and patterning of her associations in larger social space. That is, her potential social capital is both the contact she herself holds and the way in which those contacts link her to other patterns of relations (p. 484) S ocial mobility is determined by how one elects to uses the newly attained s ocial capital. In regard to educational issues, peer pressure has been a leading factor in influencing some students to or not to maximize on their social capital and potenti al (Zhang, DeBlois, Deniger & Kamanzi, 2008, p. 99). Bourdieu further suggests, "that the volume of social capital possessed by an individual depends on the size of the network that he or she can mobilize and the volume of capital possessed by each person to whom he or she is

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23 connected" (as cited in Chambers & Deller, 2011, p. 52). The time and investment spent increasing one's social capital can influence the person's ability to use the capital to advance them in the future. According to Putnam (2000) s ocial capital can be viewed as three dimensional: bridging, bonding and linking (Zhang et al., 2008; Carpiano, 2006). Putnam (2000) elaborates on his three dimensional concept by stating, "bonding social capital refers to strong relationships with family members, relatives, and close friends; bridging capital to relatively loose ties with distant friend, acquaintance, associates, and colleagues; and linking social capital to relations with groups and institutions" (as cited in Zhang et al., 2008, p. 100). Social capital can be received and transferred through b ridging, bonding, and linking. Social capital is the "the sum of the actual and potential resources embedded within, available through, and derived from the network of relationships possessed b y an in dividual or social unit" (Chiu, Hsu & Wang, 2006, p. 1875 ). It is t hrough these comprehensive interactions and relationships that the College 4 Y.O.U. program has established with institutions of higher education that served as a resource for the participa nts to use how they choose As a result of participation in the College 4 Y.O.U. program participants have attained the ability to link other family and community members to the academic community in which they have created new bonds.

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24 CHAPTER IV RESEARC H METHOD Using a fully mixed method sequential equal status approach I was able to examine how the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate Program offered through the Skinner Middle School Neighborhood Center has influenced its participant s' attitude s, beliefs and beh aviors towards higher education. I collected data by using multiple methods (i.e., student survey, program coordinator interview, parent/adult sponsor focus groups and participating College 4 Y.O.U. student focus groups). B ring ing together the quantita tive analysis data and the qualitative interpretation focus group response data in to a written format links ways in which a student's involvement in the College 4 Y.O.U. program at Skinner influenced their attitude, beliefs and/or behaviors towa rds higher education (Bazeley, 2011 ; Collins, Onwuegbuzie, & Johnson, 2012 ). Survey A survey questionnaire was administered to 38 of the 44 College 4 Y.O.U. participants. Th e survey questionnaire asked t he respondent s to share how College 4 Y.O.U. and other enrichm ent programs have affected and/or influenced their attitude, beliefs and/or behaviors toward higher education The survey consisted of likert scaled and open ended questions. To assess the underlying structure for the 19 likert scale items of the survey, a principal components factor analysis was conducted to establish the existence of attitude scales consisting of three or more likert items (Leech, Barrett & Morgan, 2008). Four scales emerged corresponding to the following constructs: Support for college from peers

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25 and parents, Perceived importance of college, Fears about academic performance, and Teacher support for college and personal determinati on to graduate from high school. A factorial analysis of variance was then used to test for differences in scale means associated with demographic factors (g ender, grade level and ethnicity). Focus Groups I used the quantitative data and responses from the survey to assist in the creation of focus groups questions (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2004). T he Center's staff assisted with identifying participants for the focus groups. From the number of respondents that volunteer ed to be a part of a focus group, seven students and five parents/adult sponsors participated in the focus group s Four focus groups were conduct ed : two groups of students that are participating in the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate Program and two groups of parents/adult sponsors whose student are participating in the College 4 Y.O.U. p rogram. Interview with the Coordinator After conducting the f irst two focus groups I me t with the coordinator of the College 4 Y.O.U. program for the purpose of gaining insight on the programs' mission, objectives and barriers. Coding and Categories The data from the survey documents focus groups coordinator 's i nterview were summarized and coded into themes and categories (Appendix A) to analyze what the participants had said, learned, and believed using integrated interpretation ( Onwuegbuzie, Slate, Leech & Coll ins, 2007; Bazeley, 2011; Merriam, 2009 )

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26 A triangu lation of the survey, focus groups and interview results was used to corroborate the findings of the study (Onwuegbuzie and Leech, 2004)

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27 CHAPTER V FINDINGS The findings presented in this study provide encouraging and reliable evidence that College 4 Y.O.U participants' attitudes, beliefs and behaviors towards higher education had been influenced by their involvement in the program. However, in no way does the data imply or suggest that the program itself made the sole difference in changing the participan ts' attitude, beliefs and behaviors Simply, the data reveals that the program has been an influential factor in changing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. In the quantitative approach and qualitative approach sections, I contextualize the findings by iden tify key constructs and categories that provide evidence that there are changes. Quantitative Approach Responses to the surveys were entered into Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) software. To assess the underlying structure for the 19 li kert scale items of the survey, a Principal Components factor analysis with Varimax Rotation was conducted (Leech, Barrett & Morgan, 2008). The survey was designed to reflect four different constructs related to attitudes and preparation for college, and a ccordingly the analysis was constrained to a four factor solution T he likert scale questions were clustered into the following four constructs: 1) Support for college from peers and parents, 2) Perceived importance of college, 3) Fears about academic performanc e,

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28 4) Teacher support for college and personal determination to graduate from high school, Once the four constructs were identified, f requency tables and cross tabulation tables were created to show how participants responded to the survey questions based o n demographic factors (gender, grade level and ethnicity) (Appendix B) The items were summed into a scale. A Factorial ANOVA was conducted in order to determine if there was a difference among each of the constructs based on gender, ethnicity, and grad e on an individual level and a relationship level. There was a significant difference associated with ethnicity, however, even though there was no significant difference among gender and grade constructs, the data showed some interesting trends. The assump tions of independent observations, homogeneity of variability, and normal distributions of the dependent variable for each group was checked. The assumption of homogeneity of variances was violated. Since this assumption was violated, had there b een any tr ue significance, the Games H owell post hoc test would have been used to determine where the differences were. The assumptions of normal distributions of the dependent variable for three of the con structs were met. However, the Teacher Support and Self Dete rmination construct assumption of normal distributions was violated. A Factorial ANOVA for the Teacher Support and Self Determination construct was robust against violations of the assumption of the normal distribution of the dependent variable (Leech, Bar rett & Morgan, 2008) The assumption of normalcy in the dependent variable was violated. It was negatively skewed. The skewness value was 2.02.

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29 A Cronbach's Alpha was calculated in order to provide evidence for internal consistency. In order for a const ruct to attain internal consistency, the value must be greater than or equal to .7 (Morgan, Leech, Gloeckner, & Barett, 2011). Two of the four constructs came back greater than .7; showing that "Teacher Support and Self Determination" (.87) and "Support f or College from Parents and Peers" (.76) constructs have evidence for internal consistency. The other two constructs were below .7; therefore, not providing ev idence for internal consistency. The tables and explanations below display the results and output of the four constructs based on ethnicity (Table 2), grade levels (Table 3), and gender (Table 4). The items were summed into a scale. Table 2 Constructs by Ethnicity Ethnicity Hispanic White American Indian Multi Racial M SD M SD M SD M SD Supp ort for College by parents and peers 4.04 .44 4.43 .37 2.92 .12 4.00 .66 Perceived Importance of College 4.47 .54 4.60 .47 4.50 .42 4.25 .53 Fears of Academic Performance 3.00 .71 2.85 .55 2.50 .71 2.73 .56 Teacher Support and Self Determination 4.56 59 4.87 .30 3.00 1.88 4.67 .49 There was a significant difference associated with ethnicity (p<.05) in relations to the Support for College from Parents and Peers construct. E thnicity accounted for 55% of the variance in responses (eta = .55). In t he Te acher support and self determination construct, a post hoc comparison showed that Native American students responded lower than students of other ethnicities, a difference larger than expectable by chance. However, the sample included only two Native Amer ican students, not randomly

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30 selected, and they cannot be assumed to be "representative" of all Native American students in DPS. Table 3 Constructs by Grade Grade 6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade M SD M SD M SD Support for College by parents and peers 4.13 .62 3.93 .60 4.02 .43 Perceived Importance of College 4.28 .57 4.41 .52 4.68 .34 Fears of Academic Performance 2.83 .62 2.77 .61 3.16 .73 Teacher Support and Self Determination 4.67 .47 4.58 .87 4.29 .68 Table 3. Constructs by Gender Gender Male Female M SD M SD Support for College by parents and peers 4.05 .62 3.99 .52 Perceived Importance of College 4.23 .53 4.66 .38 Fears of Academic Performance 2.93 .63 2.81 .66 Teacher Support and Self Determination 4.58 .52 4.51 .90 There was significant difference between males and females within the P erceived Importance of College c onstruct Males did report a lower average score for perceived importance ( M =4.23, SD= .53) than Females ( M =4.66, SD=.38). For the other three constructs t here wa s no significant difference between males and females But the interaction between gender and grad e was significant. The figures (Figure 3, Figure 4, Figure 5, & Figure 6) below show the inconsistency in the responses for each construct between males and f emale with respect to their grade levels. Where the two lines cross is where the inconsistency lies, thus causing the interaction.

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31 Figure 3. Fears of Academic Performance Figure 4. Perceived Importance of College Figure 5. Teacher Support and Self Determination $# $"%# &# &"%# '# '"%# (# ("%# )*+# ,*+# -*+# !"#$%&#'()*$#' +$%,#' -#%$.'*/'!)%,#01)'2#$/*$0%3)#' ./01# 213/01# $# &# '# (# 4# %# )# )# ,# -# !"#$%&#'()*$#' +$%,#' 2#$)#1"#,'405*$6%3)#'*/'7*88#&#' ./01# 213/01# ("-# 4# 4"'# 4"4# 4")# 4"-# %# %"'# )# ,# -# !"#$%&#'()*$#' +$%,#' 9#%):#$'(;55*$6'%3,'(#8/<=#6#$013%61*3' ./01# 213/01#

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32 Figure 6. Support for College by parents and peers Figure 7 Knowing anyone who has gone to college Above is a crosstabulation of ethnicity and knowing anyone who has gone to college (Figure 7) As the figure indicates the tw o American Indian participants did not know anyone who has gone to college. The participants that identified as multi racial had the largest difference between those that knew someone that has gone to college and did not know anyone who has gone to college (7, 3) Finally, in response to the open ended question (Figure 8), "thinking differently about college since their involvement in (")# (",# ("-# ("5# 4# 4"&# 4"'# 4"(# )# ,# -# !"#$%&#'()*$#' +$%,#' (;55*$6'/*$'7*88#&#'>?'5%$#36.'%3,'5##$.' ./01# 213/01# $# '# 4# )# -# &$# &$# (# $# ,# &$# '# '# (# 7$*..6%>;8%61*3'*/'@6:31)16?'%3,'A3*B13&' %3?*3#'B:*':%.'&*3#'6*')*88#&#'C DEFG' 617# 89# #### :/*;<9=/#########>+;*1###########?31@;A/<#!
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33 College 4 Y.O.U.," the majority of participants indicated that they are more confident that they could go to college (42% ag reed and 34% strongly agreed). Figure 8 College confidence after participating in enrichment programs The quantitative data collected through the survey has served as a way to triangulation the rationale for using different methods that s tudy the same phenomenon, while at the same time serving to enhance and help inform the results of my qualitative data (Onwuegbuzie and Leech 2004) Qualitative Approach Using Dedoose, qualitative and mixed m ethods software, the transcribed focus group an d coordinator interview narrative notes and responses to open ended question from the surveys were examined for reoccurring themes. Once the themes became firmer, they became the central focus. The themes were than coded along with sub codes and child code s into six categories: Attitude Change (AC), Behavior Changes (BC), Belief Changes (BFC), Motivation (M), Opportunities (O), and Skills (S). $"$F# &$"$F# '$"$F# ($"$F# 4$"$F# %$"$F# G;7/H@11# I
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34 Parent r esponses Parent participants agreed that the two biggest influential changes witnessed in their child sin ce becoming a part of the College 4 Y.O.U. program were attitude and behavior al changes. One parent (Female Parent #2) cited that their child's involvement in College 4 Y.O.U. program is a major reason for these changes. Replying to the question about whe ther or not she believes her child's attitude has changed since becoming a part icipant in the College 4 Y.O.U. she states "She was pretty closed minded, now she has a more open mind when we are talking with her, she knows more stuff around her. She's more open minded a lot" (Female Parent #2). Another parent affirms that statement by saying, "I see a sense of confidence" (Male Parent #1). He continued by elaborating on how he has witnessed his son go from a quiet sh y student to now having the confidence t o present in front of large groups of peers and adults. Male Parent #2 also said that his two sons have a different level of confidence since participating in the College 4 Y.O.U. program. They are more open and positive about school and life. All the parents that participated in the focus groups believe that the opportunities afforded to their children through the College 4 Y.O.U. program and other enrichment programs at Skinner has been the main reason for their child's motivation to attend colleg e after high school graduation. Four of the parents indicated that one of the reasons for deciding to send their child to Skinner was because of the enrichment programs offered thro ugh the Center and the school. One stated in regard to choosing to send his child ren to Skinner "we come from South Denver and we have some good school down there too, but Skinner is the only one with the college programs, and so that does make a difference" (Male Parent #2). Along with Skinner's School Performance Ratings, the

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35 many enrichment program opportunities have been a positive influence for parents wanting to send their children to Skinner. Assuring the success of their students is not just a mission for Skinner and the Center staff, it is a passion. Student r esponses The student participants spoke about how the opportunities to visit college campuses have opened their minds to future possibilities. These opportunities have given them the ability to believe that college is attainable. The participants are picturing the mselves on a college campus, while envisioning their future. One student stated, "going to college is important, because it helps you get a better job and understanding of life. College gives you a perspective on life" (Male Student #2). Of the seven stud ent participants, six of the participants will be first generation college students. When asked, what has been most valuable about the program, the responses have been learning about colleges and visiting them. These opportunities are great examples of how the College 4 Y.O.U. program has influenced students' attitudes and beliefs about themselves and higher education. They know that it isn't going to be ea sy, they will have to work hard; however, since being a part of the College 4 Y.O.U. program their fea rs of being on a college campus has diminished The experiences of dorm life, cafeteria food and college level courses is making college life a tangible reality and less frightening Student participants say that their involvement in the College 4 Y.O.U. p rogram has been vital to their academic success. One participant shared that when he first came to Skinner he was at a low reading level, but after getting involved with the programs in the Center, his readi ng level is grade appropriate. The program has mo tivated participants to get good grades by having them believe in t hemselves and their abilities. Their self

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36 image is based largely on how they feel the significant adults in their lives perceive them. The mentors and networking opportunities have inspir ed them to do better academically, thus, altering their perceived images of not being capable to being able to succeed in higher education P arents teachers staff and the students have witnessed these behavioral changes. The number of students that now attend after school tutoring has been of the biggest behavioral and attitude changes. One student participant replied in regard to doing his homework by himself, "whatever answer I got, I turned it in, but now I know that these people [staff and teachers at Skinner and the Center] help me so I can get the answer right and get things done the way they are supposed to be" (Male Student #2). He is not the only one taking advantage of these opportunities, all seven of the student participants use the afterscho ol serves offered by Skinner to assure that they are college ready. Coordinator r esponses Even though the coordinator of the College 4 Y.O.U. has brought with him a wealth of knowledge in regard to enrichment programs, he has had to rely on his network of colleagues to maintain the program. Unlike the institutionally funded University of Colorado Pre Collegiate Development Program through the President's Office that he developed in 1988, he has had to spend a majority of his time seeking sponsorship and funding resources. He mentioned that one of his top priorities has been confront ing the financial barriers to maintain the program, while trying to expend it for the purpose of serving more students at Skinner and the surrounding Northwest Denver communit y He shared that he has written a number of grants in hopes of obtaining sustainable funds and partnerships. Currently, the College 4

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37 Y.O.U. has been funded through private donations, including in kind support from five Colorado colleges and universities An other concern is the possibility of leadership turnover. Having been a witness of institutional leadership changes during his time at the University of Colorado, he fears that when a new leader comes in, he or she brings new ideas and new prioriti es that may or may not included enrichment programs. He contributes the success of the College 4 Y.O.U. program to Skinner's principal for supporting the program by providing office and meeting space for the Center and the College 4 Y.O.U. program. He say s that without her support the program would not occur Principal K oyama provides support by giving of her time, soliciting funds through DPS, and promoting the program to the Northwest Denver community. E ven though there are barriers that the program still has to overcome, he truly believes that the College 4 Y.O.U. has i mpacted students, parents, the school and the community in a positive way He says that the Center, along with the College 4 Y.O.U. has been instrumental in creating a climate of high academic achievement. He credits the College 4 Y.O.U. program for starting the after school tutoring and the science fair that requires all students to participate. With the implementation of these programs, he stated, "students' confidence levels have bee n elevated, thus, seeing a positive change in the attitudes and behaviors of the participants towards higher education" (Coordinator). Summary of the Findings The attitudes of these participants are positive; they see a bright future in f ront of them with multiple opportunities offered through the enrichment programs at Skinner. The College 4 Y.O.U. program has provided its participants with the beliefs,

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38 opportuniti es, skills and motivation to become whatever they dream to be in the future The findings of the study show that the College 4 Y.O.U. program has had an indirect influence on the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors toward higher education. Through the early intervention college exposure, the College 4 Y.O.U. has provided opportunit ies that these participants may not have had without the program.

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39 CHAPTER VI IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS As research has shown, early intervention programs play a significant role in helping underserved and distressed students achieve the sam e academic level as their more privileged counterparts (Gu llatt & Jan, 2003); however, these early intervention programs are a costly investment of staff time, institutional and foundation funds, and student and parent commitment. In this section, I list a number of recommendations that I believe would b enefit the College 4 Y.O.U. program in maintaining the mission of meet ing the needs of it s participants t hrough academic support, high sch ool readiness, and college awareness. Academic Capital Formation Th e success of any pipeline program has to begin with a strong theoretical framework that is used a s a guide in the design and testing of interventions to address challenges faced by its participants. As mentioned in chapter III, Academic Capital Formation ( ACF) examines the ways in which a student gains academic, social and financial access into college. This model provides the framework for examining how postsecondary encouragement, public financing of higher education and early college campuses interventio n and opportunities can influence underrepresented student academic achieve and behaviors (St. John, Hu, & Fisher, 2011). It is my recommendation that the College 4 Y.O.U. program consider implementing an ACF framework which will enable the program the a bility to evaluate and determine how program elements serves as a linkage between social, cultural and

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40 human capital From my observation, the College 4 Y.O.U. has been implementing some segments of this framework unintentionally including networking oppo rtunities and tutoring requirements. The ACF framework will provide them with the theory and reasoning for continuing and bettering their program. Partnerships and Collaborations To ensure the longevity of the College 4 Y.O.U. program, a substantial and sustainable blueprint must be established One recommendation would be to restructure the program model. Instead of including multiple institutions of higher education site visits and summer programs; it would benefit Skinner to establish a partn ership wi th one or two committed institutions that may already have a similar program. Instead of reinventing the wheel, this would eliminate competing programs. For example, the University of Colorado System (CU) has a fully developed Pre Collegiate program that s erves middle school and high school students with similar demographics. It would be essential to develop a partnerships and collaborations with CU to provide resources for the College 4 Y.O.U. program. This would eradicate the additional funding that is sp ent on transportation, materials, and building rental fees that each of the colleges and the Center have to contribute for College 4 Y.O.U. participants visit each year. Sharing costs and resources will allow the program to increase the number of participa nts admitted and will also provided the participants with additional support services. Barlow and Villarejo (2004) have found that the continuation of partnerships and collaborations between K 12 institutions, institutions of higher education and communit y collaborations are vital to the success of pre collegiate pipeline programs at both an institutiona l level and an external level. Barlow and Villarejo (2004) argue "the

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41 substantial investment of resources required to mount such comprehensive programs is an investment well spent and s hould be continued" (p. 877). This investment needs to be a collaborative effort, where groups of leaders have to abandon their personal agendas in favor of a collective approach to improving underserved communities (Kania & Kramer, 2011). To achieve this practice of collective impact, there needs to be a carefully structured process. To begin this process I would suggest creating a centralized infrastructure with dedicated staff or key members that are a part of a select co mmittee or group that share a common agenda/mission. Once this is done, there has to be continuous communication between all parties involved. There needs to be a shared measurement system that provide information on the progression of the program and par ticipants. Leadership Skinner has seen some extraordinary changes under the leadersh ip of prin cipal Michelle Koyama including TCAP score, enrollment rates, parent and community involvement, and additional athletic and academic enrichment programs. As Skin ner s' successes and accomplish ments become more visible in the public, there is always the chance that the agents of change will be highly sought out for their expertise by other institutions or organizations Thus, it is important to make sure that the re sponsibly and/or contributions to the successes of an institution or program is not solely dependent upon a person(s) or mechanism(s). One parent confirmed this worry of programs di smantling or being discontinued; he hopes that Denver Public Schools will m ake sure these types of program last for a long time. Communities like Skinner have seen excellent

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42 programs developed to serve their youth, but once th ere is leadership change, program objective start to change. Almost always n ew leadership brings with th em new agendas. Distribut ion of p ower and duties So often you see a n excellent program developed that is later discontinued or mismanaged once the person who created the program is gone. In most cases this is inconvenient for the population or community in which the program was created to serve One implication would be that s chool personnel be cross trained to ensure that programs do not fall to the way side when the person in charge moves on. This allows new ideas to be presented and shared in hopes of enhancing the program. Staff members have to be entrusted and empowered by the principal and new director of the Center to move forward on decisions that may impact students and the program. If one waits for approval all the time, opportunities could fly b y. Another sugg estion would be to integrate classroom subject materials or lessons with the programs objectives The program coordinator could engage classroom teachers by incorporating subject materials and/or lessons, such as writing, reading, math and science into the program projects or weekly focus areas. Evaluation and data. Being that the College 4 Y.O.U. program has existed for six years, the data to support the programs college going rate is not available. However, in anticipation of the first co hort to graduate from high school this year, Skinner and the Center have to take a proactive approach collecting the data on their students. A program evaluation has to be conducted. Even though basic data and administered evaluations have been kept from past cohorts, the program needs to take different measures in assuring that the program is

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43 making a difference. Collecting purposeful data in order to better track students along the pipeline track as well as administering evaluations to show impacts, sat isfaction and areas for improvement will en able the program to determine what works and what does no t. This will assist in deciding where resources and funding should be placed. Collecting data and conducting program evaluations has to be done efficiently and logically in order to generate meaningful outcomes. To ensure that this process is being conducted properly, I would recommend that this be done either through outsourcing with a competent evaluation center or a consultant. A partnership with an insti tution of higher education would be ideal for this purpose, because this would allow data and evaluation collection be done systematically. Funding Resources As we have seen over the past eight years, local, state, and national educational budg ets have decreased dramatically. Academic pipeline program similar to College 4 Y.O.U have seen some of the biggest budget cuts because these types of programs are considered supplemental programs and are not a part of the academic core curricula. Thus, w hen budgets get tight, these types of programs are the first to be eliminated. The College 4 Y.O.U. program is in the same predicament. In the past Skinner and the Center have relied on the 21 st Century Foundation grant, a United Way Worldwide grant, an d small local grants and donations to provide financial support for employee salaries off set and program costs for the College 4 Y.O.U. program. However, with more programs requesting support from these foundations and organizations, which are also functi oning with limited funding, programs have to rethink their existence.

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44 District funding Denver's Public School District needs to take the initiative in assuring that resources and funding continues to be available to enrichment program that have seen suc cesses. The responsibility for soliciting support along with coordinating the actual program can be burdensome for program directors and coordinators. This sometimes defeats the purpose of the program, when the majority of time is spent writing grants, ins tead of serving the needs of the community. Family Involvement Research shows that family involvement is influential in a students' future educational and career decisions ( Elizabeth B., & Leigh A. S 2009) The College 4 Y.O.U. has done a good job of informing parents about opportunities for their children; however, I believe that the program can take it one step further. St. John and colleagues elaborate on this concept by referring family involvement as fami ly uplift. They define family uplift as "a pattern of behavior within family systems and extended networks that supports the acquisition of college knowledge, navigation of education and employment systems, and expansion of educational opportunity across generations" (p. 17). They argue that p arent/fa mily involvement can transform the patterns of social behavior for the whole family through involvement They refer to this as college knowledge, "A form of cultural capital that includes the capacity to envision one's self and family members as co llege students, building understanding of the roles of courses and majors in preparation for graduate education and the workforce, and the ability to use human and information resources to discern and pursue appropriate pathways through educational systems (p.17). The Pre Collegiate Program at CU Denver has a mandatory policy for parent adult sponsor or family member participation. A parent or adult s ponsor has to be in

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45 attendance at each Saturday Academy. Not only does this provide the adult member with the same experiences the participant is going through, it also demonstrates to the student participant that they have support at home and their community too. I would recommend implementing a similar policy, however, there needs to be a mechanism that al lows participants that may not have this support still participate in the program. These mechanisms could include seeking mentors from undergraduate institutions for these participants or seeking a community member that may serve as these participants adu lt sponsor. Continuous Research There remains much more to learn on how the College 4 Y.O.U. program has influenced its participants, p articularly in the areas of college going ra tes per cohort of participants and program evaluation. I would recommen d that continuous research be done on the enrichment programs at Skinner and the Center. Future data that correlates with participant's demographics, GPA, and TCAP scores would be useful in capturing a complete picture on how these programs have be influen tial on a student social and academic achievement.

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46 CHAPTER VII CONCLUSION For many Skinner students, a college campus may as well be a foreign country, full of unknown and unfamiliar faces. Yet, through campus exposure, students have started to s ee themselves differently -hopefully at an institution of higher education. This study has demonstrated that the College 4 Y.O.U. program has afforded participants the opportunities to develop meaningful relationships that will assist with their future suc cesses, whether t hrough higher education or not. Participants were exposed to opportunities that increase d their academic capital, while seeing changes to their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors This has in ways influenced the student s thought process on how they view themselves and how others view them making it easier for them to access and transition into an institutio n of higher education setting. As Loza (2003) points out, "a college education is the doorway to the middle class" (p. 43). So, through these collaborations between institutions of higher education, parents, and community members, Skinner has provided students with a familiar support system to further their goals for high school graduation, college graduation, and becoming leaders in thei r communities. By engaging with these students, parents/adult sponsors, and communities, institutions of higher education can develop a better understanding of how to provide these students with the right support, both academically and emotionally, to be s uccessful at their institution. Enrichment programs including College 4 Y.O.U. can bring about behavioral changes that assist in solving complex problems, like changing students' attitude s beliefs, and behaviors toward higher

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47 education by engaging them i n the process earlier in their school years By opening the doors to these opportunities Skinner and its partners are not only influencing its students, but also affecting the Northwest Denver communities

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48 REFERENCES Acar, E. (2011). Effects of social capital on academic success: A narrative synthesis. Educational Research and Reviews 6 (6), p. 456 461. Anderson, E. (2012). Race, culture, and educational opportunities. Theory and Research in Education 10 (105). DOI: 10.1177/1477878512446540 Anderson, M. D. (2011). Priorities Outlined for Promise Neighborhoods Program. Education Week 30( 26 ), M a r ch 30 2011 p. 18 ISSN: 0277 4232 Barlow, E.L. A. & Villarejo, M. (2004). Making a Difference for Minorities: Evaluation of an Educational Enric hment Program. Journal of Research In Science Teaching 41 9. Bazeley, P. (2011). Integrative analysis strategies for mixed data sources. American Behavioral Scientist 5 6. Carpiano, R. M. (2006). Toward a neighborhood resource based theory of social capital for health: Can Bourdieu and S ociology help? Social Science & Medicine (1982) 62 (1), 165 75. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.05.02 Chambers, T. & Deller, F. (2011). Chances and Choices of Low Income Students in Canada and England: A Post Structura list Discussion of Early Intervention. In Kezar, A. (Eds.). Recognizing and Serving Low Income Students in Higher Education: An Examination of Institutional Policies, Practices, and Culture (pp. 49 71) New York, NY: Routledge. Chiu, C., Hsu, M., & Wang, E. T. (2006). Understandi ng kn owledge sharing in virtual communities: An integration of social capital and social cognitive theories. ScienceDirect 42 Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociolo gy 94. Collins, K. M. T., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Johnson, R. B. (2012). Securing a place at the table: A review and extension of legitimation criteria for the conduct of mixed research. American Behavioral Scientist 56 (849 ) DOI: 10.1177/0002764211433799 Colorado Department of Education. (2014). 2012 TCAP State Summary Results Assessment. Retrieved from http://www.cde.state.co.us/assessment/coassess dataandresults

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49 Colorado Department of Higher Education. (2013). 2013 Legislative Report on The Postsecondary Progress and Success of High School Graduates. Denver, Colorado: Lt. Governor Joseph Garcia, Executive Director. Darling Hammond, L. (2011). Testing, No Child Left Behi nd, And Educational Equity. In L.M. Stulberg & S.L. Weinberg (Eds.), Diversity in American Higher Education: Toward a More Comprehensive Approach. (pp. 36 48). New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. Denver Public Schools (2013). Skinner Middl e School 416: October Count Snapshot Retrieved from media.dpsk12.org /enrollmentsnapshots/ES444.PDF Dervarics, C. (2011). New Bill Targets College Access, Academic Success in Low Income Areas Diverse Issues Higher Education, 28, 10 11. Dumais, S. A., & Ward, A. (2010). Cultural capital and first generation college success. ScienceDirect 38 245 265 Duncan Andrade, J. & Morrell, E. (2008). The Art of Critical Pedagogy: Possibilities for Moving from Theory to Practice in Urban School New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. Elizabeth B., & Leigh A. S. (2009). Family involvement: Impacts on post secondary educational success for first generation A ppalachian college students. Journal of College Student Development 50 (4), 391 406. doi:10.1353 /csd.0.008 Espenshade, T.J., & Radford, A. W. (2009). No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Fitzpatrick J. L., Sanders J. T., & Worthen B. R., (2004). Pr ogram evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines (3rd ed.). Boston, MA : Pearson Educ ation, Inc. Flores, L.Y. & Obasi, E. M. (2005). Mentors' Influence on Mexican American Students' Career and Educational Development. Journal of Multicult ural Counseling & Development 55. Gaddis, S. M. (2013). The influence of habitus in the relationship between cultural capital and academic achievement. Social Science Research 1 13 Gliner, J. A., Morgan, G. A., & Leech, N. L. (2009). Research methods in applied settings: An integrated approach to design and analysis (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

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50 Gullatt, Y. & Jan, W. (2003). How Do Pre Collegiate Academic Outreach Programs Impact College Going among Underrepresented Student?. Washington, DC: Pa thways to College Networking Clearinghouse Huang, D. (2001). An after school evaluation system for middle and high school programs. NASSP Bulletin 85 (626), 45 61. doi:10.1177/01926365010856260 Kallison, J. M., & Stader, D. L. (2012). Effectiveness of s ummer bridge programs in enhancing college readiness. Community College Journal of Research and Practice 36 (5), 340 357. doi:10.1080/1066892080270859 Kania, J., & Kramer, M. (2011). Collective Impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Stanford Universit y Graduate School of Business. Kingston, P.W. (2001). The unfulfilled promise of cultural capital theory. Sociology of Education, 74 Extra issue: Current of Thought: Sociology of Education at the Dawn of the 21 st Century, (88 99). Leech, N. L., Barret t, K., & Morgan, G. A. (2011). SPSS for intermediate statistics: Use and interpretation (4th ed.). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis. Lewis, A. E. & Manno, M. J. (2011). Inside the K 12 Pipeline for Black and Latino Students. In L.M. Stulberg & S.L. Weinb erg (Eds.), Diversity in American Higher Education: Toward a More Comprehensive Approach. ( 25 35). New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. Li, Y., Alfeld, C., Kennedy, R. P., & Putallaz, M. (2009). Effects of summer academic programs in middle school on high school test scores, course taking, and college major. Journal of Advanced Academics 20 (3) 404 436 . Loza. (2003). A system at risk: College outreach programs and the educational neglect of underachieving L atino high school students. Th e Urban Review 35 (1) 43 57 Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass. Morgan, G. A., Leech, N. L., Gloeckner, G. W., & Barrett, K.C. (2011). IBM SPSS for introductory statistic s: Use and interpretation. (4th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor and Francis. National Information Center for Higher Education Policymaking and Analysis. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.higheredinfo.org/dbrowser/index.php?submeasure=61&year=2006&l evel=nation&mode=data&state=0

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51 Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Leech, N. L. (2004). Enhancing the interpretation of "significant" findings: The ro le of mixed methods research. The Qualitative Report 9 (4) 770 792. Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Leech, N. L. (2007). Sampling designs in qualitative research: Making the sampling process more public. The Qualitative Report 12 (2), 238 254 Onwuegbuzie, A. J ., Slate, J. R., Leech, N. L., & Collins, K. M. (2007). Conducting mixed a a nalyses: A general typology. International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches 1 4 17. Piton Foundation. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.piton.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=CommunityFacts.Summary&Neighb orhood_ID=867 U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS). (2009 2011). Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/acs/www/ Read, A. (2011). Getting involved: How summer enrichment programs improve social development and behavior (Masters Thesis). Stanford University. Sandefur, R. L., & Laumann, E. O. (1998). A paradigm for s ocial capital. Rationality and Society 10 (481 ). Sanders, M., & Lewis, K. (2005). Building bridges toward excellence: Community involvement in high school. The High School Journal 88 (3), 1 9 Skinner Middle School Website (2013) Retrieved from http://skinner.dpsk12.org/academics/ St. John E.P., Hu S., & Fisher, A.S. (2011). Breaking Through the Access Barrier: How Academic Capital Formation Can Improve Policy in Higher Education New York, NY: Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group. Tierney, W.G. & Auerbach, S. (2005). Toward Developing an Untapped Resource: The Role of Families in College Preparation. In W.G. Tierney, Z.B. Corwin, & J.E. Colyar (Eds.) Preparing for College: Nine Elements of Effe ctive Outreach (p p 29 48). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Trilling, B. (2010). 21st century middle schools: What does success really mean? The Magazine of Middle Level Education 13 8 11.

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52 The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. (2013). Public High School Graduation Rates Report Retrieved from http://www.higheredinfo.org/dbrowser/index.php? submeasure=36&year=2009&l evel=nation&mode=graph&state=0 Winkler Wagner, R. & Locks, A.M. (2014). Diversity and Inclusion on Campus: Supporting Racially and Ethnically Underrepresented Students New York, NY: Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group. Winkler Wagner, R. (2010). Cultural Capital: The Promises and Pitfalls in Educational Research Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Woolcock, M., & Narayan, D. (2000). Social Capital: Implication for Development Theory, Research and Policy. World Bank Resear ch Observer, 15(2). Yosso, T. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethnicity and Education 8 (1), 69 91 Zhang, X. Y., DeBlois, L., Deniger, M., & Kamanzi, C. (2008). A theory of success for disadvantaged children: Reconceptualization of social capital in the light of resilience. The Alberta Journal of Educational Research 54 (1) 97 111 Zion S. (July 2012). Northwest Denver Promise Neighborhoods Planning Project Submitted to US Department of Education, Promise Neighborhoods Competition.

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53 APPENDIX A RESEARCH METHOD This mixed method research approach examines how the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate Program offered through the Skinner Middle School Neighborhood Center has influenc ed its participates' attitude s beliefs and/or behaviors towards higher education. A vital reason for using a mi xed method research approach is that mixed method studies "address much more comprehensive research purposes than do quantitative and qualitati ve research alone" (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2004, p. 770). A mixed method research approach allow ed me to look closer into quantifiable details, while taking an open ended view of the study at the same tim e (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2004 ). B ring ing together the q uantitative analysis data and the qualitative interpretation focus group response data in to a written format links ways in which a students' involvement in the College 4 Y.O.U. program at Skinner influenced their attitude, beliefs and behaviors towa rds hig her education (Bazeley, 2011). According to Onwuegbuzie and Leech (2004) there are five general purposes of mixed method studies, (a) Triangulation: seeking convergence and corroboration of findings from different methods that study the same phenomenon; (b) complementarity: seeking elaboration, illustration, enhancement, and clarification of the findings from one method wit h results from the other method; (c) development: using the findings from one method to help inform the other method; (d) initiation: discovering paradoxes and contradictions that lead to a re f raming of the research question;

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54 and (e) expansion: seeking to expand the breadth and range of inquiry by using different methods f or different inquiry components (p. 770). Using the five purposes of mixed method studies as a guide of reference through out this study, I conduct ed an examination of how the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate Prog ram has influenced Skinner students' a ttitude s beliefs and behav iors towards higher education. I collected da ta by using multiple methods (i.e., student survey, parent/adult sponsor focus groups and participating College 4 Y.O.U. student focus groups). The data was summarized using both quantitative and qualitative approaches, known as integrated interpretation, for the purpose of generating stronger outcomes that are better supported by evidence from the study (Onwuegbuzie, Slate, Leech & Coll ins, 2007; Bazeley, 2011 ). Sampling The target population was 6 th grade to 8 th grade Skinner Middle S chool students that h ave participated in the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate Program and the parent/adult sponsors of those students that are participating in focus groups. The ages of the participants ranged from 11 years old to 14 years old. There are currently 44 students t hat participate in the College 4 Y.O.U. program. Of those 44 participates, 48% are male and 5 2% are female. The ethnic breakdown is 59% Latino, 7% A merican Indian, and 34% white. T here are currently no African American or Asian American students that part icipate in the program. Compared to the overall population of Skinner Middle School of 372 students in which 81.5% are on free or reduced price lunch and 79.8% a re considered ethnic minority. The student body population comprises of 71% Latino

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55 students, 20 % White students, 3% African American students, 1% Asian American students and 2% American Indian students (Denver Public Schools) Data Collection Prior to collecting data or contacting potential participants a human subject research approval was obtain ed through the University of Colorado Denver Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Denver Public Schools Research Review Board (RRB) Once IRB and RRB approval was granted, I work ed with the Skinner Middle School principal and the Neighborhood Center's director to send out flyers along with assent and consent forms to all College 4 Y.O.U. participants and their parents/adult sponsors. The assent and consent form s consist ed of my study's research question, objectives, and desired outcomes. After colle cting student signed assent forms, a survey questionnaire was administered Th e survey questionnaire asked the respondent to share how College 4 Y.O.U. and other enrichment programs have a ffected and/or influence d their attitude, beliefs and behaviors towa rd higher education The survey was conducted after school in the Neighborhood Center, where the students regularly meet after school hours. The survey consisted of likert scaled and open ended questions. There were a total of 38 participants that turned i n a survey. The number of incomplete surveys was minimal. The questions that were not answered were the open ended questions. The students that fill ed out the survey receive d a candy bar for their participation. With the assistance of the Neighborhood Ce nter's staff participants for the focus groups were identified. The participants were currently active members of the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate P rogram. From the number of respondents that volunteer ed to be a

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56 part of a focus group, seven students and five parents/adult sponsors participated in the focus group s Four focus groups were conduct ed ; two groups of students that have participated in the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate Program and two groups of parents/adult sponsors whose student have partic ipated in the College 4 Y.O.U. p rogram. The purpose for conducting separate focus groups was to see if there were dramatic changes in the attitudes, beliefs and/or behaviors of how the participating students and the parent s of participants view ed higher e ducation after going through the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate Program. The focus group s were administered in person. Three of four the f ocus groups were conducted after school. Focus groups were conducted in a natural setting convenient for the particip ants and the school officials. The two student focus groups took place on a Friday, December 6, 2013 (3:00pm) and Friday, December 13, 2013 (3:00pm) during the College 4 Y.O.U. after school meeting. The first p arent/adult sponsor focus group was conducted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 in the evening (6:00pm) and the second on Thursday, December 19, 2013 at noon; during the parent s lunch break. Focus group times ranged from 45 minutes to appro ximately one and a half hours. Originally, I had schedule d only t wo focus groups, one for students and one for parents. However, due to the small number of participants that showed up for the first two focus groups, another two were added. The focus groups took place in a variety of places in the Skinner Middle Schoo l Neighborhood Center including the Director's office; which consisted of a conference table with six chairs around it. Both student focus groups were conducted in this room. A classroom was used for the first parent focus group. Finally the last focus gr oup, which became more of an interview, consisted of one parent and myself meeting in the main

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57 Center's staff conference room The focus groups were recorded using "voice memo" on both my iPad /iPhone I used both devices in case one malfunctioned, this way I would not lose any important information. Prior to any of the discussions being recorded, anonymity was explained and ensured. The participants were th e n given a one sheet form including the researchers contact information and a list of focus group etiquette to review. The list comprised of suggestions such as there are no right or wrong answers and what is said in this room stays in this room. The conversations focused on how the College 4 Y.O.U. program has influenced their attitudes, behavior and bel iefs towards higher education. Questions were broad enough to not be threatening and easy enough that participates felt comfortable responding. Because the focus group sessions occur red during afterschool hours and over the lunch hour food (pizza) and drinks (water) were provided for each focus group The parent/adult sponsor s receive d a $2 5 gift card from Walgreens for their participation in the group. After conducting the first two focus groups I met with the coordinator of the College 4 Y.O.U. p rogram for the purpose of gaining insight on the programs' mission, objectives and barriers. Data Analysis Using a fully mixed methods sequential equal status approach, I was able to use the quantitative data and responses from the survey to assist in th e creation of focus groups questions and topics. Through survey documents and focus groups I consolidate d reduce d and interpret ed what the participants had said, learned, and believe in hopes of

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58 making sense out of the data collected (Merriam, 2009 ). Th e results of the surveys distributed and the recordings and the notes taken during the focus groups were coded to provide themes and categories to analyze Quantitative Approach After the survey had been administered, responses to the surveys were entered into Statistical Product and Service Solutions ( SPSS ) software. To assess the underlying structure for the 19 likert scale items of the survey, a factor analysis was conducted (Leech, Barrett & Morgan, 2008). Four factors were requested. Dividing the ques tions into four constructs: Support for college from peers and parents, Perceived importance of college, Fears about academic performance, and Teacher support for college and personal determination to graduate from high school, f requency tables and cross t abulation tables were created to show how participants responded to the survey questions based on demographic factors (g ende r, grade level and ethnicity). Then an One way ANOVA was ran to determine if there was a significant difference between the grade ea ch student was in (e.g., 6 th 7 th and 8 th ) and each construct (e.g., Support for college from peers and parents, Perceived importance of college, Fears about academic performance, and Teacher support for college and personal determination to graduate from high school ). A n independent t test was run to determine if there was a significant difference between gender and each construct. Finally, A one way ANOVA was run in order to determine if there was a difference within the constructs based on ethnicity. Q ualitative Approach After each individual focus group had been conducted, t he "voice memo" recording of the group responses data was transcribed into narrative notes This was done

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59 usually within 24 hours of the meeting, to ensure accuracy during data anal ysis. The transcribed narrative notes were than examined for reoccurring themes. Once the themes became firmer, they became the central focus. The themes were than coded into six categories: Attitude Change (AC), Behavior Changes (BC), Belief Changes (BFC) Motivation (M), Opportunities (O), and Skills (S). There were sub codes and child codes that fit wit hin these six main categories. This coding was done using Dedoose, qualitative and mixed m ethods software. The responses to open ended question from the surveys were also put into the Dedoose software and were coded using the same six categories from the focus groups narrative notes. The codes had to be consolidated, reorganized and renamed after members of my dissertation committee and classmates reviewed and coded some of the narrative notes. The validity and reliability of the study was ensured and enhanced by using several techniques, including a single interviewer and transcriber for all focus groups, peer examination and constant feedback from disser tation committee members on focus group and survey questions. Study Limitations Initially, I had hoped to compare the attitudes, beliefs and/or behaviors toward higher education of those who had participated in with College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate Program with those who had not participated in the program. Ho wever, the Denver Public School's Department of Assessment, Research and Evaluation limited m y study to only those that had or are now participat ing in College 4 Y.O.U Thus, limiting the number of stu den ts and parent/adult sponsors who could participate in my study. Their reasoning was that my research should be based solely on student s and parent s

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60 individual perception s of the College 4 Y O U program, so for those that did not participate, their pe rception of the program would not exist. Another limitation of the study became evident when obtaining volunteers to pa rticipate in the focus groups. There was reluctance from both students and parents to be involved in the study. Some of the factors that added to this reluctance were time constraints, weather, and fear of embarrassment.

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61 Survey The survey was used to measure if students' attitude, beliefs and/or behaviors towards higher education were influenced by their participation in the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate Program. The survey consisted of 36 likert scale and open ended questions. The survey was conducted on November 8, 2013 during the participants regularly schedule College 4 Y.O.U. Friday after school meetings. Below is a copy of t he survey that was administered to 38 middle school student participants. Study Title: Changing Middle S chool students' attitude, beliefs and behaviors towards Higher Education through Enrichment P rograms Principal Investigator: Dominic F. Martinez C OMIRB No: 13 2244 Version Date: September 30, 2013 1. Age : ____________ 2. I most identify as : (P lease circle the one best corresponds to you) Male Female Transgender 3. Which is true for you? I was born in the U.S., but my parents were not I was born in th e U.S. and only one of my parents was. The other was not born in the U.S. I was born in the U.S. and both of my parents were born in the U.S. I was born in the U.S., my parents were born in the U.S. and my grandparents were born in the U.S. 4. Grade in Scho ol : (P lease circle the one best corresponds to you) 6 th 7 th 8 th

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62 5. Ethnicity : (P lease circle the one best corresponds to you) Hispanic White African American Asian American Pacific Islander American Indian/Native American Multi Racial _________ _______________ 6. Do you know anyone who has been enrolled in college in the last five years? (P lease circle the one best corresponds to you) Yes No 7. If so, what are you relations to them? (P lease circle the one best corresponds to you) Family Member Frie nd Other _______________ 8. What are your educational goals? 9. What are three things that you enjoy most about school? 1. 2. 3. 10. What are three things you don' t like about school? 1. 2. 3. Please rate the following questions on how much you agree or disagree with each statement. 11. I want to go to college ? Disagree Strongly Disagree Undecided Agree Agree Strongly 12. My p arents want me to go to college ? Disagree Strongly Disagree Undecided Agree Agree Strongly 13. Most of my teache rs encourage me to go to college ? Disagree Strongly Disagree Undecided Agree Agree Strongly 14. Most of my friend s are interested in going to college ? Disagree Strongly Disagree Undecided Agree Agree Strongly

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63 15. College does not affect my chances of getting a better job ? Disagree Strongly Disagree Undecided Agree Agree Strongly 16. I do not think that a college education is necessary for a person to be successful in today's world ? Disagree Strongly Disagree Undecided Agree Agree Strongly 17. High school graduates should go onto college because in the long run they will have better job opportunities ? Disagree Strongly Disagree Undecided Agree Agree Strongly 18. It is better to be educat ed rather than uneducated ? Disagree Strongly Disagree Undecided Agree Agree Strongly 19. A college education will help me get a better job ? Disagree Strongly Disagree Undecided Agree Agree Strongly 20. If you have good grades in high school, you are more likely to get into college? Disagree Strongly Disagree Undecided Agree Agree Strongly 21. It is important to take challenging classes in high school, so you are prepared for college Disagree Strongly Disagree Undecided Agree Agree Strongly Please answer the following questions regarding how often the following event s happen HOW OFTEN DO YOU 22. Talk at home about going to college? Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often 23. Talk about going to college at school? Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often 24. Talk about going to college with your friends? Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often

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64 25. Consider dropping out of school? Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often 26. Worry about how you will perform academically at school? Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often 27. Worry about the impression you make on others? Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often 28. Feel optim istic about your future at college? Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often 29. Worried about going to college ? Never Not Often Sometimes Often Very Often Please answer the following questions. 30. What kind of grades do yo u expect to get this year? (P lease circle the one best corresponds to you) 1) A 2) A/B 3) B/C 4) C/D 5) D/F 31. Are you involved in any enrichment programs? (P lease circle the one best corresponds to you) (Enrichment Programs include Pre Collegiate Progra ms, After School Programs and/or Summer Programs) Yes No N/A

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65 32. If so, what enrichment programs are you involved with? (P lease circle the one s that best corresponds to you) Pre Collegiate Program After School Programs Summer Programs Please list the pro grams that you have been involved with: ( For example; Health Sciences Summer Program at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus or College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate Program ) __________________________________________________________________ ___________ 33. After partici pating in enrichment programs, I am more confident that I can go to college ? Disagree Strongly Disagree Undecided Agree Agree Strongly 34. How did enrichment programs make you think differently about college? ____________________________________ _____________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________ Why do you feel that way? _________________________ _____________________ 35. What do you think is the most valuable about enrichment programs? _________________________________________________ 36. What do you think is the least valuable about enrichment programs? __________________________ ______________________

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66 APPENDIX B ANALYTICAL WORK Appendix B is separated into three sections. The first section, Data Collection Schedule provides a timeline describing how the study was conducted. This section includes dates and times of data collectio n; the methods of data collection, whether it was through a survey or a focus group; who participated in the study and where the collection of data took place; and the purpose for collecting certain data. The second section, Student Participation Survey Results is the statistical results taken from the survey. In the first three tables I have grouped the survey questions into four constructs: Support for college from peers and parents, Perceived importance of college, Fears about academic performance, an d Teacher support for college and personal determination to graduate from high school T o show how participants responded to the survey questions based on demographic factors (g ender, grade level and ethnicity) f requency tables and cross tabulation tables w ere created showing the means and standard deviation for each question. The last three tables and explanations displays that a o ne way ANOVA was ran to determine if there was a significant difference between the grade each student was in (e.g., 6 th 7 th and 8 th ) and each construct (e.g., Support for college from peers and parents, Perceived importance of college, Fears about academic performance, and Teacher support for college and personal determination to graduate from high school ). A n independent t tes t was run to determine if there was a significant

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67 difference between gender and each construct. Finally, a one way ANOVA was run in order to determine if there was a difference within the constructs based on ethnicity. The third section, Coding and Descri ptions breakdowns the themes/codes, sub codes, child codes and description of codes that fit within the six main categories that have became the central focus of the study in the first table. These include: Attitude Change (AC), Behavior Changes (BC), Be lief Changes (BFC), Motivation (M), Opportunities (O), and Skills (S). The second table provides specific excerpts from focus groups transcriptions that correlate with each of the six main categories.

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68 Data Collection S chedule: Survey and Focus Gro ups Date Time Data Type Who and Where Purpose 11 8 2013 3:15pm 4:00pm Survey Skinner Middle School Students that participate in College 4 Y.O.U. There were 38 students and 2 program coordinators present (Brittnee Davis and Maria Ruiz Jargon). The survey was conducted in the Neighborhood Center's large classroom. Demographics and examine whether a students' attitude, beliefs and behaviors towards higher education is influenced by their involvement in enrichment programs at Skinner Middle School offered through the Skinner Neighborhood Center. 12 5 2013 6:00pm 7:10pm Parent Focus Group Neighborhood Center Classroom (all seats where around a table) (four tables pushed together). Present: Male 1 (Frank) (Hispanic) (Son in the program 7 th Grader); Mal e 2 (Dana) (African American) (arrived with his two son, both sons are in the program 6 th and 7 th Grader); Male 3 (Ray) (White) (arrived with older daughter, who had been in the College 4 Y.O.U. Family has had three children go through the program) (S on is currently in the program 8 th Grader); Female 1 (Virginia) (Hispanic) (Her son is Multi racial) To learn if they believe that their child's involved in the enrichment programs at Skinner Middle School has influenced his or hers' attitude towards hig her education (college). Due to a small number of parents in attendance, I arranged to meet with other parents on different dates. 12 6 2013 3:05pm 4:00pm 4:00pm 5:00pm Student Focus Group & Intervie w with College 4 Y.O.U. program coordina tor Used Dirk 's office (Dirk, Director of the Neighborhood Center) We sat at a conference room table that had six chairs. Present: Student 1 6 th grader African American male student (Dana's Son) Student 2 7 th grader African American male student (Dana's Son) Studen t 3 8 th grader White male student (Ray's Son) Student 4 7 th grader Multi racial (Hispanic/White) male student (Virginia's son) Coordinator Male (Ron) To learn if students believe that their involved in the enrichment programs at Skinner Middle Schoo l has influenced their attitude towards higher education (college). Due to a small number of participants and only male student in attendance, I arranged to meet with other students on different dates. To learn why, how and when the program was developed and issues/barriers that the program deals with. 12 13 2013 3:11pm 4:00pm Student Focus Group Used Dirk's office Conference room table that had six chairs. Present: Female Student 1: Latina (7 th Grade) Female Student 2: Latina (7 th Grade) Female Stud ent 3: Latina (7 th Grade) To learn if students believe that their involved in the enrichment programs at Skinner Middle School has influenced their attitude towards higher education (college). 12 19 2013 Noon 12:30pm Parent Focus Group Neighborhood Cente r Main Office (We sat around a conference table) Present: Female 2: Latino Female (Family from Mexico) (daughter in College 4 Y.O.U.) To learn if they believe that their child's involved in the enrichment programs at Skinner Middle School has influenced his or hers' at titude towards higher education

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69 Student Participation Survey Results (38 student completed the survey) Support for college from peers and parents Grade 6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade Gender Gender Gender Male ( n= 11) Fema le ( n =3) Male ( n =6) Female ( n =10) Male ( n =4) Female ( n =4) M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD I want to go to college 4.64 .67 5.00 0.00 4.67 .52 4.80 .42 4.50 .58 5.00 0.00 Parents want me to go to college 4.64 .67 5.00 0.00 5.00 0.00 4.90 .32 4.50 .58 5.00 0.00 Talk at home about going to college 3.70 1.16 3.67 1.15 3.67 .52 3.30 1.34 3.00 1.41 4.00 0.00 Talk about going to college at school 3.60 1.07 3.67 1.15 4.00 .71 2.89 1.05 4.25 .96 3.25 .50 Talk about going to college with your friends 3.30 1.16 3 .00 1.00 3.00 1.41 2.30 1.25 2.25 .96 3.25 .96 It is important to take challenging classes in high school, so you are prepared for college 4.55 .52 5.00 0.00 4.50 .55 4.70 .48 4.50 .58 4.75 .50 Ethnicity Hispanic ( n = 20) White ( n = 5) American Indi an /Native American ( n =2) Multi Racial ( n =11) M SD M SD M SD M SD I want to go to college 4.75 .55 5.00 0.00 4.00 0.00 4.73 .47 Parents want me to go to college 4.80 .52 5.00 0.00 4.50 .71 4.82 .40 Talk at home about going to college 3.53 .90 4.20 .84 1.50 .71 3.64 1.12 Talk about going to college at school 3.61 .85 4.00 .71 1.50 .71 3.50 1.08 Talk about going to college with your friends 2.84 1.07 3.60 .89 1.50 .71 2.73 1.42 It is important to take challenging classes in high school, so you are pre pared for college 4.60 .50 4.80 .45 4.50 .71 4.64 .50

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70 Perceived importance of college Grade 6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade Gender Gender Gender Male ( n= 11) Female ( n =3) Male ( n =6) Female ( n =10) Male ( n =4) Female ( n =4) M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD College does not affect my chances of getting a better job 2.82 1.40 2.33 2.31 3.50 1.64 2.10 1.79 1.50 1.00 1.50 .58 It is better to be educated rather than uneducated 4.55 .52 5.00 0.00 4.00 1.10 4.89 .33 5.00 0.00 5.00 0.00 High School graduates should go onto college becaus e in the long run they will have better jobs opportunities 4.18 .60 5.00 0.00 4.33 .82 4.80 .42 4.75 .50 4.50 .58 A college education will help me get a better job 4.36 .67 5.00 0.00 4.50 .55 4.90 .32 5.00 0.00 5.00 0.00 Worried about going to college 3. 00 1.41 1.67 1.15 4.00 .89 1.90 .74 2.25 1.50 2.50 .58 If you have good grades in high school, you are more likely to get into college 4.36 .67 5.00 0.00 4.50 .55 4.90 .32 5.00 0.00 3.50 1.73 Ethnicity Hispanic ( n = 20) White ( n = 5) American Indian /Native American ( n =2) Multi Racial ( n =11) M SD M SD M SD M SD College does not affect my chances of getting a better job 2.30 1.69 1.80 1.30 2.00 1.41 3.00 1.55 It is better to be educated rather than uneducated 4.79 .42 5.00 0.00 4.00 0.00 4.45 .93 High School graduates should go onto college because in the long run they will have better jobs opportunities 4.55 .60 4.40 .55 5.00 0.00 4.45 .69 A college education will help me get a better job 4.70 .47 4.80 .45 5.00 0.00 4.64 .67 Worr ied about going to college 2.47 1.26 2.80 1.30 1.50 .71 3.00 1.34 If you have good grades in high school, you are more likely to get into college 4.45 1.00 4.60 .55 4.50 .71 4.73 .47

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71 Fears about academic performance Grade 6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade Gender Gender Gender Male ( n= 11) Female ( n =3) Male ( n =6) Female ( n =10) Male ( n =4) Female ( n =4) M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD Talk about going to college with your friends 3.30 1.16 3.00 1.00 3.00 1.41 2.30 1.25 2.25 .96 3.25 .96 Worry about how you perform academically at school 2.90 1.20 3.00 1.73 2.67 1.37 3.10 1.45 2.75 1.71 4.25 .50 Worry about the impression you make on others 3.70 1.34 3.00 0.00 2.67 1.03 3.40 1.35 2.75 1.26 3.00 1.41 Feel optimistic about your future at college 3.80 .63 4.00 1.00 3.50 1.52 3.40 1.51 3.00 1.83 4.25 .96 Worried about going to college 3.00 1.41 1.67 1.15 4.00 .89 1.90 .74 2.25 1.50 2.50 .58 Ethnicity Hispanic ( n = 20) White ( n = 5) American Indian /Native American ( n =2) Multi Racial ( n =11) M SD M SD M SD M SD Talk about going to college with your friends 2.84 1.07 3.60 .89 1.50 .71 2.73 1.42 Worry about how you perform academically at school 3.47 1.39 3.20 1.3 0 2.00 1.4 1 2.45 1.04 Worry about the impression you make on others 3.21 1.18 3.40 1.1 4 2.50 2.1 2 3.27 1.35 Feel optimistic about your future at college 3.79 1.03 4.00 .71 2.00 1.4 1 3.45 1.57 Worried about going to college 2.47 1.26 2.80 1.3 0 1.50 .71 3.00 1.34

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72 T eacher support for college and personal determination to graduate from high school Grade 6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade Gender Gender Gender Male ( n = 11) Female ( n =3) Male ( n =6) Female ( n =10) Male ( n =4) Female ( n =4) M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD Most Teachers encourage me to go to college 4.64 .50 5.00 0.00 4.67 .52 4.30 1.34 4.50 .58 4.00 .82 Most Teachers encourage me to go to college 4.64 .50 5 .00 0.00 4.67 .52 4.30 1.34 4.50 .58 4.00 .82 I do not think that a college education is necessary for a person to be successful in today's world 2.36 1.21 1.00 0.00 2.17 1.47 2.50 .85 3.00 2.31 1.75 .96 College does not affect my chances of getting a be tter job 2.82 1.40 2.33 2.31 3.50 1.64 2.10 1.79 1.50 1.00 1.50 .58 Talk at home about going to college 3.70 1.16 3.67 1.15 3.67 .52 3.30 1.34 3.00 1.41 4.00 0.00 Consider dropping out of school 1.50 .85 1.00 0.00 1.00 0.00 1.20 .63 2.00 1.15 1.25 .50 Ethnicity Hispanic ( n = 20) White ( n = 5) American Indian /Native American ( n =2) Multi Racial ( n =11) M SD M SD M SD M SD Most Teachers encourage me to go to college 4.55 .69 4.80 .45 2.50 2.12 4.64 .50 Most Teachers encourage me to go to college 4.55 .69 4.80 .45 2.50 2.12 4.64 .50 I do not think that a college education is necessary for a person to be successful in today's world 2.15 1.27 2.60 1.52 2.50 .71 2.27 1.35 College does not affect my chances of getting a better job 2.30 1.69 1.80 1.30 2.00 1.41 3.00 1.55 Talk at home about going to college 3.53 .90 4.20 .84 1.50 .71 3.64 1.12 Consider dropping out of school 1.37 .76 1.00 0.00 2.00 1.41 1.27 .65

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73 Factor loading for The Survey The Survey Mean SD N Component Factor 1: Support for College from Peers and Parents Talk at home about going to college 3.62 1.07 34 .778 Parents want me to go to college 4.88 0.33 34 .728 I want to go to college 4.74 0.51 34 .673 Talk about going to college with your friends 2.91 1.19 34 .639 Talk about going to college at school 3.53 1.02 34 .557 It is important to take challenging classes in high school, so you are prepared for college 4.65 0.49 34 .557 Factor 2: Perceived Importance of College A college education will help me get a better job 4.74 0.51 34 .823 High School graduates sho uld go onto college because in the long run they will have better jobs opportunities 4.59 0.56 34 .749 It is better to be educated rather than uneducated 4.68 0.64 34 .526 College does not affect my chances of getting a better job 2.32 1.53 34 .462 If you have good grades in high school, you are more likely to get into college 4.56 0.82 34 .458 Factor 3: Fears About Academic Performance Worry about the impression you make on others 3.21 1.27 34 .782 Feel optimistic about your future at coll ege 3.79 1.12 34 .685 Worry about how you perform academically at school 3.15 1.33 34 .617 Worried about going to college 2.59 1.26 34 .431 Factor 4: Teacher support for college and personal determination Most Teachers encourage me to go to college 4.50 0.83 34 .801 Consider dropping out of school 1.35 0.73 34 .773 Most of my friends are interested in going to college 4.50 0.83 34 .455 Eigenv alue Cu m % Factor 1 2.98 15.7 0 % Factor 2 2.59 29.3 4 % Factor 3 2.37 41.8 0 % Factor 4 2.09 52.8 2 %

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74 Codes and Descriptio n Themes/Codes Sub Codes Child Codes Description of Codes Attitude Change (AC) Value of Learning Modification of an individual's general evaluative perception (Cacioppo, Petty, & Crites, 1994). The student 's individual motivation toward higher education has evolved due to the intervention of the enrichment program(s). Behavior Changes (BC) Confidence The student has changed his or her approach to activities that help them think and react differently towar d higher education and life in general. Others witness changes in personal mannerisms and actions. Belief Changes (BFC) Thinks differently about college Through conscious thought or messages received from others, the students' confidence in their pers onal ability changes. Personal truths. Motivation (M) Motivation; Education Goal to College; Career Choice; Strive for good grades STEM Fields Does the student see himself or herself going to college? Are they working towards that goal? (Example: gettin g good grades, taking advantage of tutoring, etc) Opportunities (O) Parent/Family Involvement; Neighborhood Center; Teache rs/Scho ol Person nel; Assista nce and Suppor t; After School Involve ment; College 4 Y.O.U. ; Tutorin Benefits or disadvantages t hat a person attains from their social environment. This could be economic benefits, educational opportunities, resource sharing, and relationships with others (Networking).

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75 g (BUG) Skills (S) A student's ability changes, whether through practice or knowl edge.

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76 Excerpts from focus groups transcriptions Themes/Codes Examples of Excerpts Attitude Changes (AC) She was pretty closed minded, now she has a more open mind when we are talking with her, she knows more stuff around her, it's not a small world they say it's a big world and she has to open, expand her horizons, to expand her ability to understand everything else, not just what she thinks in that moment. She's more open minded a lot. Behavior Changes (BC) I used to not care about my grades until I heard I can get held back if I don't do my homework or try to bring up my grade. She goes afterschool at North and sometimes she don't get done till, like tonight 5:00 when she got done over there. Because she wants to make sure her grades are up there That's all their doing, I don't tell them you have to do this. They just want to do it. I've changed because now I turn in homework and actually have the answers. Belief Changes (BFC) [Referring to College 4 Y.O.U.] Well, I thought it was going to be very hard and boring but it isn't. Because I didn't know what to expect. Motivation (M) I would be the first person to go to my college and stay through. My mom, she has a good job and stuff, but she always says how she wished she would have finished co llege earlier because then it could have opened a lot more opportunities and I want those opportunities so I think that it would be better to go to college. Opportunities (O) You get to take trips, learn more about it, and do more fun activities. The tri ps, cuz when we get there, they explain how it helps you improve. I was at a 4th grade reading level in 5th grade, so they put me in the Neighborhood Center, and ever since, now I'm at 7th grade level and I'm an 8th grader. Skills (S) I am making friends here now. [Parent speaking about his son] He is a much better speaker now because of it. He speaks in front of Skinner with the parents and stuff. I think it really helped him with that type of talent. [Parent speaking about his son] The whole thing w ith having to work on a team, having to do a project, just builds confidence, and he's a lot more at ease working with other kids. That's important, very important.

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77 APPENDIX C PROBLEM STATEMENT According to Duncan Andrade (2008), our society is built o n a pyramid structure with no room at the top for the masses: The fact that opport unity exists (currently defined as all children having access to public schools) helps maintain the rhetoric of a democratic and meritocratic societyultimately benefiting society as a whole by rewarding the most deserving. And it just so happens that the overwhelming majority of those who benefit most from this sorting process are those who look, talk, think, and act most like those who already have power. And it just so happens that the overwhelming majority of those who benefit least from this sorting process are those who come from different backgrounds and communities than those who already have power (p.4). This problem, which we have been battling for decades, stem s from a number of inequalities shared by those do not have the power in today's society. Some of these inequalities that hinder populations from underserved and distressed communities are perpetual lack of preparation, access, networking, and mentorship f or many students to enter higher education. Several components contribute to the problem, including (a) urban high schools, which often lack resources to adequately prepare their underrepresented students for institutions of higher education, (b) policy de cision makers, who sometimes put their personal needs and wants in front of their constituents' and communities' needs (c) familial support, where family or significant adult involvement

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78 at home and school is lacking in regards to academic achievement (Ti erney & Auerbach, 2005), and (d) higher education, where the problem of access, academic and personal support, retention and graduation of a diverse student population persists after the few are admitted among the many (Winkle Wagner & Locks, 2014). This c an be seen by how colleges and universities have still not succeeded in creating welcoming campus climates. Literature Review Building upon the research that early exposure to college increases the possibility of college enrollment and graduation rates ( Loza, 2003; Gullatt & Jan, 2003), my study examines if a student's attitude, beliefs and/or behaviors towards higher education is influenced by their involvement in the College 4 Y.O.U. Pre Collegiate Program at Skinner Middle School (Skinner) offered thro ugh the Skinner Neighborhood Center (Center). According to Trilling (2010), "middle school is a crucial time when students grow their hopes and commitments for success in school, in future work, in family and community life or not" (p. 9). College track p lanning needs to occur before 8 th grade in order to develop and maintain college aspirations (Tierney, Corwin & Colyar, 2005). By expanding efforts to middle school students, institutions of higher education can bring positive experiences in the areas of education and higher education, which will ultimately enhance the likelihood they seek a higher education degree in the future. For example, Skinner is one such middle school in the Northwest Denver area that has established enduring college exposure prog rams. Not only because of their ongoing pre collegiate programs, Skinner was chosen because of the school's location, the demographics of the student population (based on ethnicity and income), and the dramatic increase in the 2012 Transitional Colorado

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79 A ssessment Program ( TCAP) scores. Skinner is located in the northwest region of the "Denver Public School District, [which] has a population of 76,038, and over 17,000 in poverty. Nearly 80% of students attending Denver Public Schools fall below the pover ty line, creating segregation between those who have access to services and those who do not" (Zion, 2012, p. 3). The Northwest Denver area "is bordered on the west by Sheridan Boulevard, on the north by 52nd Avenue, on the east by I 25 and on the south b y 6th Avenue" (ibid, p. 9). This area is unique because income levels of those residing within the Skinner boundaries range from upper class to below poverty. As Zion (2012) indicates, this allows "aggregated data to mask the needs in the community, and m aking it difficult to identify those families who need support" (p.3). This complexity creates both possibilities and challenges for those living in the area. With the influx of upper class families moving into the neighborhood, this may possibly lead to influential community member using their resources and social capital to impact the schools and the community, resulting in gentrification. Thus, making it harder for lower income community members to afford to live in their own community. State and Na tion In the State of Colorado, 57% of the graduating high school seniors enrolled in public postsecondary institutions in 2011 and of that percentage, only 28% are enrolled in 4 year Colorado institutions of higher education (Colorado Department of Higher Education, 2013). These numbers are astonishingly low, yet the numbers are even worse for Latino/a American students. According to the Legislative Report on The Postsecondary Progress and Success of High School Graduates report (2013), "While

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80 Hispanic st udents made up one fourth of the high school graduating class, they account for less than one fifth of the students who went to college in the fall of 2011" (p.9). Nationally, Colorado has the second greatest disparity of college degree attainment between Whites and Latinos (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2009 2011). Which is depicted in the bar graph below (Figure 1). This means that Colorado youth lag far behind academically compared to the majority of other states. Figure 1. Dif ference in College Attainment Between Whites and Hispanic To make matters worse, the largest percentage of students that do not enroll in institutions of higher education are those that receive free or reduced price lunch. This percentage has steadily in creased 9.6% from 2009 to 2011 (p. 9). However, as indicated in the Legislative Report on The Postsecondary Progress and Success of High School Graduates report (2013) Latino/a students are most likely to receive free or reduced price

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81 lunch and those who are eligible have the lowest college going rate at 35.6%. This means that, "nearly 52% of all Hispanic high school graduates in 2011 received free or reduced price lunch" (p. 11). These numbers indicate that well over half of the Latino/a students gradua ting from high schools in Colorado will not enroll in college after graduation. Nationally, the numbers are very similar to Colorado with the exception of Maine, Vermont and New Jersey, whose high school graduation rates are above 86% (National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. 2009). So, as indicated in the data, there is a wide educational disparities gap that needs to be addressed nationally. Skinner Middle School Built in 1922 as a junior high, Skinner has transformed into a 21 st centu ry middle school that consist of 6 th 7 th and 8 th grade levels directed at preparing all students for college entrance instead of just getting them ready to move on to high school. Currently there are 372 students that attend Skinner (Denver Public School s Enrollment Snapshots). Of the 372 students, 81.5% are on free or reduced price lunch and 79.8% are considered ethnic minority. The student body population comprises of 71% Latino students, which is the largest group, 20% White students, 3% African Ameri can students, 1% Asian American students and 2% American Indian students. Under the leadership of principal Michelle K oyama, Skinner has gone from an orange school to a green school. Denver Public Schools uses a five color school performance framework ( SPF) rating evaluation that takes into account a variety of factors, including how a school supports academic growth, academic proficiency, college readiness and family/parent satisfaction (Denver Public Schools School Performance

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82 Framework). The five col or rating ranges from red (accredited on probation) to blue (distinguished). The following table (Table 1) provides the definition of the five colors ( Denver Public Schools School Performance Framework ). Table 1 ( The School Performance Framework) Blue G reen Yellow Orange Red Distinguished Meets Expectations Accredited on Watch Accredited on Priority Watch Accredited on Probation Schools rated Distinguished are exceeding district expectations and have very high ratings in both Academic Growth and Academ ic Proficiency. Schools that Meet Expectations are performing at the level that the district expects and have high ratings in either the area of Academic Growth or Academic Proficiency, or the school has good ratings in both areas. Schools in this catego ry that have seen a decline in student performance from previous years receive increased instructional supports, such as assistance with enhanced training for the school's staff. Schools are rated as Accredited on Watch when they are performing below the d istrict's expectations. Improvement is needed on either Academic Growth or Academic Proficiency measures. Schools in this category receive intensive instructional supports, such as enhanced, targeted training for the school's staff, consultation on curri culum and assistance using data to increase student achievement. Accredited on Watch schools that show a lack of improvement from previous years may be subject to interventions such as replacement of staff or a change in the academic program. Schools rat ed Accredited on Priority Watch are performing significantly below expectations and are expected to dramatically improve student achievement. Accredited on Priority Watch schools receive intensive instructional supports, such as enhanced, targeted training for the school's staff, consultation on curriculum and assistance using data to increase student achievement. These schools are subject to interventions that may include changes to academic programs or school staff or implementation of school turnaround strategies. Schools rated Accredited on Probation are performing significantly below expectations and are expected to dramatically improve student performance. Accredited on Probation schools receive intensive instructional supports, such as enhanced, tar geted training for the school's staff, consultation on curriculum and assistance using data to increase student achievement. Accredited on Probation schools require additional budget review, and the district may provide additional financial resources to help the school improve. These schools are subject to interventions that may include changes to academic programs or

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83 school staff or implementation of school turnaround strategies. This means that Skinner has circumvented being deemed a turn around sch ool, in which the school would have been forced to close for a year while the district restructured curriculum with new leadership and teachers in an effort to improve test scores. Instead, Skinner "had the highest net median growth percentile of all trad itional middle schools in Denver Public Schools" (Skinner Middle School, 2014). On the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) Colorado's standards based assessment designed to provide a picture of student performance to schools, districts, educa tors, parents and the community. From 2011 to 2012 Skinner saw the 7 th grade math proficiency increase from 18.7% to 33% for a total increase 14%. While both writing proficiency and reading proficiency increased around 10% (Colorado Department of Education Assessment). In comparison to other Denver Public Schools' 6 th & 7 th grade students, Skinner students had a higher proficiency in math, reading, and writing than the district average (Skinner Middle School). This accomplishment is good, considering that research indicates that students with similar backgrounds as the majority of students attending Skinner, they should be struggling academically and not succeeding as well as they are doing (Duncan Andrade & Ernest Morrell, 2008). The Neighborhood Center T he Neighborhood Center at Skinner Middle School is a nonprofit grant funded program, in the Department of Extended Learning, a branch of the Denver Public School. The Center was first established to Horace Mann Middle School in 1997 prior to it being

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84 moved to Skinner Middle School in 2005. The mission of the Center is to provide, "Students and families' access to diverse range of out of school time programming intended to meet the needs of Skinner students and the Northwest Denver community. Through academ ic support, high school readiness, STEM, athletics, college awareness, and project based learning"(Skinner Middle School). The Center hosts a number of student activities (enrichment programs) including After School Programming, Pre Collegiate Summer Progr ams, Student Organizations, Club Sports, Adult G.E.D. Courses for Spanish speakers, Family Cooking and Health Courses, Free Flu Shot Clinics, Food Bank for low income families, Science Fair Programs, and tutoring. With the support of the Center, Skinner h as been able to develop collaboration with outside entities that have provided the students, families, and community with opportunities and mechanisms that prepare youth to be academically ready to go to succeed in high school, college, and life. The reso urces offered at the Center are free not only for students, but for families and the surrounding community in the Northwest Denver area as well. The Center has also taken a proactive approach to engage parents in afterschool activities, community outreach and pipeline programs, which fosters intellectual development and understanding of the nature of scientific research and teaches parents how to help their children succeed in higher education (Sanders & Lewis, 2005). These approaches to enhancing academ ic achievement among these students are but a few of the opportunities in hopes of increasing access and persistence in higher education for underserved and distressed students. Enrichment Programs Similar to the belief that it takes a village to raise a c hild, a concept is referenced

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85 when a student enters the collaborative field of having mentors, shadowing professionals, and spending time on a college campus. By connecting and partnering with professionals, Skinner and the Center access additional resour ces, mentorships, and internships for their students' benefit (Read, 2011). In their research, Barlow and Villarejo (2004) found that partnerships and collaborations between K 12 institutions, institutions of higher education, and community collaborations are vital to the success of enrichment programs at both an institutional level and an external level. Through partnerships, graduation rates of certain groups of students should be enhanced, while providing future career or schooling options for students to pursue. Enrichment programs providing academic enrichment, personal support and research experiences can substantially improve the retention of underrepresented minority students (Barlow and Villarejo, 2004). A key component of enrichment programs ha s been developing a network of institutions of higher education and professional experts to serve as advisors and mentors to program participants. Setting high expectation for these students, with the means to accomplish their goals with limited barriers s hould be a joint effort, including the students, parents, and school personnel (McDonough, 2005). Barlow and Villarejo assert that "the substantial investment of resources required to mount such comprehensive programs is an investment well spent and shoul d be continued" (p. 877). Even though it is still early to confirm if Skinner's investment has come to fruition of college attendees, the participants of the College 4 Y.O.U. program have been equipped with the skills that should make their transition int o higher education simpler.

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86 College 4 Y.O.U. Students participating in this comprehensive pre collegiate program meet weekly after school to engage in college prep workshops. Once a month the students, parents and program director visit one area college campus during the academic year to learn about college enrollment processes and what each college has to offer. During these visits students are provided the opportunity to network with college personnel. Table 2. (College 4 Y.O.U. College Vis itation Academies for 2013 2014) Date: Host Campus Site: October 26, 2013 University of Colorado at Boulder November 9, 2013 Colorado State University (Fort Collins) December 7, 2013 Arapahoe Community College January 18, 2014 University of Colorado An schutz Medical School February 15, 2014 Colorado School of Mines March 22, 2014 Community College of Aurora April 19, 2014 Regis University May 30 31, 2014 College 4 Y.O.U. Year end Retreat, Balarat Outdoor Experience Students can also participate in five different summer camps where they spend 3 4 days at an area college or university, getting a taste of campus life and enjoying hand on workshops taught by professors. Table 3. (Summer Experience 2013 2014) Academic Focus: Host Campus Site: Business & Entrepreneurship University of Colorado at Boulder Engineering Colorado School of Mines Agricultural Science, Natural Resources, Computer Animation, Construction Management and Fine Arts Colorado State University Education University of Color ado at Denver Health Careers and Basic Sciences University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

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87 As aforementioned, the two largest demographic groups at Skinner are Latino/a students and those eligible for free or reduced price lunch; these groups overl ap in most cases at Skinner. Even though data shows that these two groups have the lowest college going rates, Skinner has done something that has caused these students to score higher on their TCAP scores and have them looking towards the future, whether it is higher education or not.