Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




Black Students At-risk, equity and inclusivity, transformative leadership, critical race theory, anti-black racism, intersectionality



In Farmside Secondary School (FSS), Black students are disproportionately identified as "at-risk" and are overrepresented on the student success teacher list. The school climate survey, supported by literature, indicates that racialized students feel targeted, excluded and marginalized in their classrooms. In FSS, social stressors such as systemic oppression, deficit interpretations, non-inclusive learning environments, and inadequate access to supportive structures create gaps. Given the threats these social stressors pose to Black student success, this Organizational Improvement Plan (OIP) frames the problem within the context of FSS and provides transformative approaches to the problem. While this OIP creates awareness of the problem, it focuses on two major general goals: (1) influencing change of staff and faculty mindsets and deficit thinking; (2) building and sustaining affirming learning environments. Viewing the problem through a critical race theory (CRT) lens, the change team interprets the problem as anti-Black oppression, recognizes the various forms of systemic oppressive elements existing within FSS cultural learning milieu, and understands the impact of social injustice on these Black students brought about by the social stressors. Through storytelling and counter-narratives regarding how these students are impacted by systemic oppression, and addressing the problem through a transformative leadership approach, the team will generate actionable solutions that will influence faculty to self-examine unconscious biases and recognize the hidden stressors. Cawsey et al. (2016) Readiness for Change Questionnaire will be accessed to determine FSS readiness to address the problem, and the change process will be guided by Cawsey, Deszca & Ingol’s Change Path Model. To determine the outcomes, the entire change process will be appraised using the Edward Deming (1993) Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles. With supportive teacher-student relationships, engagement in equity literacy, teaching with culturally responsive and relevant pedagogy, while providing adequate and timely support to the students in question, the academic achievement of these Black students will soar. More Black students will be empowered to rise to equitable outcomes in their mainstream classrooms alongside their peers. Finally, the ripple effect will produce a reduction in the number of Black students flagged as at-risk.

Keywords: Black Students at-risk, equity and inclusivity, transformative leadership, critical race theory, anti-black racism, intersectionality