Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership

Major Professor

Judith A. Ponticell, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

John mann, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Vonzell Agosto, Ph.D.


culturally relevant curriculum, culturally relevant instruction, culture of care


This capstone project was part of a group project completed by five school and district administrators in Hillsborough County, Florida. The project began because of our passion for teachers who are able to establish a culture of care in their classrooms that support students academically but transform their learning through experiences that enable them to be more highly engaged and productive students, regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, perceived academic abilities, and backgrounds.

Our school district has spent significant resources attempting to address the deficiencies that exist within its lower performing schools. A variety of curriculum specialists have addressed challenges these largely Title 1 schools are facing, with little to moderate improvement shown over the course of several years.

Selected literature over the past ten years was reviewed to gain insight into developments and discussions that have materialized around the notions of culturally relevant (curricular/pedagogical) leadership in schools. My component of this project was guided by the question: How is cultural diversity addressed in curriculum so as to be relevant to the success of traditionally marginalized students (students of color and/or those from communities of low socio economic status)?

Insights from the literature reviewed suggest that Appreciative Inquiry as a more holistic approach to cultural relevancy creates greater opportunity for deliberate and intentional building of relationships of respect and responsibility, giving rise to social consciousness and not just improved test performance.