Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Jerry Willis

Second Supervisor

Pamela Davis


Research indicates that education is a key to both economic growth and higher living standards for American citizens. However, it is challenging for high school students of color living in urban neighborhoods to obtain high-quality education. Extant research indicates that after-school programs serving students of color play a critical role in bridging the achievement gap in education. Unfortunately, in designing and marketing these vital programs, the voices of the most informed, the students, are often overlooked as a source of information. Students can contribute a valuable perspective on after-school programming. This study identified factors that contribute to recruitment and retention in afterschool programs serving high school students of color. This interpretive qualitative research study collected focus group data (n=28) from high school students of color attending three urban high schools in the New York City area. The participants were asked to describe the program, to explain why they joined the program and why they stayed, and to talk about possible barriers to participation. After each focus group session, the participants submitted a writing sample explaining what would be their ideal after-school program. The focus group data was analyzed to identify factors that needed to be considered when examining the success of recruitment and retention of students of color. The five major concepts emerged from the analysis, which were: marketing, incentives, development of youth, activities/services, and social connectedness. MIDAS is a conceptual model that was proposed as an approach for the successful recruitment and retention of high school students of color in after-school programs. Additionally, this dissertation discussed the implications and recommendations for practitioner and policymakers. (Keywords: after-school programs, recruitment, retention, students of color, high school students)

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