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Holmes Scholars Share Studies into Classroom Disparities Based on Race and Culture 

Four Sacred Heart University students and one alum from SHU’s doctor of education in educational leadership program presented their dissertation research during the preconference portion of this year’s AACTE 2024 Annual Meeting in Denver, CO. 

Tanya Collins ’25 gave a round table presentation about the impact of summer programs on the academic achievements and self-efficacy of students of color. “Receiving critical and constructive feedback from peers about my dissertation proposal was significant,” said Collins, assistant principal and director of human resources at the Interdistrict School for Arts & Communication in New London. 

Collins and the other SHU participants are scholars associated with the AACTE’s Holmes Program, which supports racially or ethnically diverse students enrolled in doctoral programs in education. SHU’s Isabelle Farrington College of Education & Human Development (FCEHD) is one of more than 50 AACTE member institutions that sponsor the Holmes Program, which offers networking, mentorships, and the opportunity to present research at the annual AACTE meeting. 

Chanel Rice ’24, assistant principal of Edgewood School in New Haven, presented her research on educator perceptions of and influence on racial disparities in classroom discipline. “Being a Holmes Scholar means a different level of excellence,” said Rice. “It puts the opportunities that I’ve been given into perspective, and it makes me want to strive to be better. I remember that I’m not only representing Sacred Heart but also my own students.” 

Elba Llantin-Cruz ’25, a professional learning specialist, shared information about inequitable instructional practices that lead to academic discrepancies and social-emotional challenges for multilingual learners. She also discussed the effects of culturally and linguistically responsive teaching. 

“One of the fascinating things I found was that when it came to multilingual students feeling safe, having a sense of belonging and academic confidence came with the concept of culturally and linguistically responsive instruction,” she said. “This means the teachers are cognizant of their own cultural values and are aware of their students’ cultural and linguistic values to leverage teaching and learning.” 

Bianca Shinn ’25, director of family advocacy at Domus Kids in Stamford, presented a poster display that focused on giving students a voice in addressing racially disproportionate discipline rates in schools. “I’ve been a practitioner in this field for more than 20 years, and I’ve never seen myself as a practitioner-researcher,” Shinn said, adding that she enjoyed taking part in the conference’s scholastic discussions. “I met so many amazing colleagues from other states, and they were excited about my research into student voices. They said they were going to bring it back to their own administrators.” 

Dee Walters ’24, who presented her dissertation at SHU in December, was part of a preconference academic job talk panel, which is an opportunity for scholars to practice presenting their research to prospective employers in academia and to receive feedback from professors and deans from various universities. 

Read the full story on SHU’s website.

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