Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education/Leadership in Urban Schools

First Advisor

Wenfan Yan

Second Advisor

Abiola Farinde-Wu

Third Advisor

Wei Ding


Black family engagement is the key to improving the life outcomes of young Black students (Clark, 2015; Mestry & Grobler, 2007). Recently, as a response to a need for better family engagement in K-12 education, new technologies have emerged. As educators, it is important to study the effectiveness of these new communication technologies, as well as how Black families are experiencing opportunities for engagement through them. Guided by critical race theory and capital theory, I ask: How do Black families experience opportunities for engagement with their children’s high schools through the use of communication technologies? To find this answer, in chapter one, the four fundamental areas that characterize the social contexts for engagement of Black families in urban education are explored. Chapter two then follows with a literature review composed of six emerging themes. Next, chapter three presents my researcher positionality in connection with my decision to conduct a qualitative phenomenological study about Black families. This will then be followed by the research measures and techniques. After conducting twenty-five individual interviews, two focus groups, and collecting document archives from nine school districts, the textural findings were provided in chapter four and the structural findings were provided in chapter five. Finally, chapter six combined the textural and structural experiences to convey the essence of the Black family experience within urban public high schools in the Greater Boston Area.