Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education


Altgeld Gardens, a Chicago public housing project, was selected for this study because its unique attributes were designed as a model, self-contained complex located in a geographically and socially, isolated area of Chicago built to house African American war armament workers and their families beginning in the mid-1940’s. Oral testimonies from teachers and community members chronicle significant changes to the local culture and the primary school’s efforts to provide effective instructional services within the cultural context of this community. The most effective and frequently used modification of instruction was the incorporation of culturally relevant pedagogy. The goal was to effectively facilitate the linking of the child’s prior knowledge and life experiences with new learning. Successful connections of home and school cultures enable students to utilize a scaffolding process that enables better academic performance. In the event the connection of the two cultures is not made, the school fails to teach and the student fails to learn. The issue of geographical isolation was mainly addressed through selective field trips that enriched and broadened the students’ life experiences and world view, as well as, supplementing classroom learning. Teachers describe culturally relevant teaching techniques and materials in use that are effective and least disruptive to the structure of the original lessons. The concept of dual identities as both African Americans and members of American society is explored relative to students’ personal development and self-esteem and expansion of their world view and knowledge base that can enable improved academic performance using the predominant textbooks and materials written from the mainstream white, middle-class perspective. Mainstream knowledge and life experiences translate into social currency which better prepare students for achieving their life goals.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.