Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Education for Social Justice

Dissertation Committee

Rebekka J. Jez, EdD, Chairperson; Jorge Ramirez Delgado, EdD, Committee Member


Pathways in Technology Early College High School, at-promise youth, abolitionist teaching, community cultural wealth, transition process, self-determination theory


College and career preparedness rates among at-promise youth remains low despite assurances of postsecondary success by architects of the current school reform model. The endeavor to increase the enrollment of students of color in college credit classes and to boost college degree attainment has not effectively closed the educational disparity gap. School-to-college transition initiatives like Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) are tailored to create a pipeline for at-promise youth in their journey from high school to college/career, aiming to broaden their access to postsecondary education and career pathways. This critical case narrative study applies an abolitionist pedagogical lens (Dunn et al., 2021; Love, 2019; Yosso, 2005b) to explore how the P-TECH Early College model supports at-promise youth by respecting their cultural identities and engaging them and their families in the transition process, while examining how institutional practices enable equitable opportunities for these youth to engage fully in experiences fostering their self-determination skill development and societal participation. Data were collected by surveying six graduates from P-TECH, hosting three focus groups with P-TECH graduates, interviewing P-TECH six alumni and four current teachers, and analyzing the Texas P-TECH Blueprint (2023) in the Northeast Texas region. As a result of the data collection, the study revealed how P-TECH supports students' development of self-determination skills, increases awareness of community cultural wealth, and how students utilize family narratives to promote abolitionist teaching practices. Findings suggest the P-TECH programs assist students in defining their self-awareness by understanding what youth know about themselves, igniting actions by knowing what to do to move into a successful adulthood, and empowering sustainability by being an active participant in their community and living out their purpose. Results indicate P-TECH programs may benefit from examining their white cultural norms within their recruitment, enrollment, and graduation criteria and by creating more culturally responsive and sustaining family engagement practices. P-TECH programs provide resources to empower at-promise youth to pursue college and career aspirations and give guidance on how at-promise youth can utilize diverse social networks to gain essential capital to advocate for a better future. Recommendations suggest program leaders shift toward a more culturally responsive transition to effectively engage in the cultural realities of at-promise youth (Kolluri & Tierney, 2019). Program leaders and teachers can become co-conspirators with youth and families in the design and navigation of postsecondary transition.

Document Type

Dissertation: USD Users Only


Learning and Teaching

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA License.