All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Tondra L Loder-Jackson

Advisory Committee Members

Lois Christensen

Jenna Lachenaye

Shannon McCarthy

Charles Willis

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


Urban schools face the enormous task of providing a wide range of support to students. These supports include academics, socio-emotional learning, health, nourishment, and even clothing. Students arrive with challenges that make it difficult to concentrate on their academic studies. The community education model can supply students in urban schools with needed resources so that they may prioritize their academics. A community education model is a holistic approach to providing support to students. With this in mind, the urban school leader must find a way to provide comprehensive support to students, both through community education and in consideration of essentialist educational policy demands, specifically the pressure to achieve academic proficiency through standardized tests. To begin to answer the question of how school leaders perceive community education and the tensions around essentialist education in urban schools, perceptions of the school leader in the community education process are considered within this dissertation employing phenomenology and autoethnographic approaches. The purpose of the study was to capture how school leaders describe how they experience community education and tensions around essentialist education in urban schools. In addition, the study focused on how they describe their efforts to secure community partners to support students and families. A rationale, proposed methodology, literature review, and implications are all discussed within the document.

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