As a social work scholar, I am dedicated to advancing theory, practice, and policy for low income adolescents of color through community-engaged research, teaching and service. My work is organized around four general areas of inquiry: theory development, racial disparities in education, school-based interventions, and positive youth development approaches. Across these topics, I am interested in the role of schools and community-based organizations in shaping the life outcomes of disadvantaged youth. My goal is to generate research that informs policies and practices to reduce institutional contributions to inequity and help young people develop resiliency to stressors associated with racism and poverty. Through my teaching, I aim to provide students with new frameworks for understanding social disparities and innovative ways of approaching their practice with adolescents.
The “Spotlight on Success” research project will identify strategies and interventions used by DPS schools to meet the district’s goals of reducing and maintaining out-of-school suspension rates to 0-3% for all students, and reducing and maintaining out-of-school suspension rates to 0-3% for Black students in particular. The overall goal of the study is to highlight schools’ successes and identify best practices that can be used by other schools to meet Denver Plan 2020 goals and specific school’s Unified Improvement Plan expectations.
This research project was initiated by the Denver School Based Restorative Justice Partnership (DSBRJ), a collaboration between the youth and parent group, Padres y Jóvenes Unidos, the national racial justice organization, Advancement Project, Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA), Denver Public Schools (DPS), the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver (DU) and the National Education Association (NEA). The aim of this study is to us document the success of three schools in Denver that have implemented restorative practices and identify models or strategies to share with others who are seeking to replicate, scale and sustain school-wide restorative justice programs.
The aim of this research project is to assess the impact of youth-led action research projects on early adolescents' developmental outcomes and adults' perceptions of youth involvement.