Journal of Research in Technical Careers


support services, community schools, career academies, African American students, urban schools


Educational Leadership | Secondary Education | Urban Education | Vocational Education


The provision of support services has been found critical for meeting the needs of students and their families, but related research in predominantly low-income, African American/Black communities, is limited. Thus, through a case study we explored how a school, located in a low-income area with a predominantly African American/Black population, adopted and enacted support services. The setting was an urban high school with an enrollment of 700 students who are predominantly African American (98%) and 100% low-income. We conducted interviews with district, school, and community stakeholders; and we followed a thematic approach for the analysis. A major finding was that the adoption of support services built on the shared belief that the school should serve as a central place of support for students and the community. We identified two distinct strands of support services, one represented by in-school supports for students and the other designed to help families in the community. Further, we found an underlying philosophy of removing obstacles for students as a means to help them succeed in school. Regarding implications for practice, it is important to note the difficulty in replicating the efficacy of support services without culturally relevant leadership at the district and school level.