Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Audrey Rabas, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Michael Butcher, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Sherry Williams, Ed.D.


There are many untold stories about the experiences and dedication of urban school teachers. This qualitative phenomenological study explored the phenomenon of teachers at high-poverty, urban schools encountering many challenges. The purpose of the study was to understand the lived experiences of urban school teachers. The constructivist learning theory and functionalist perspective guided the conceptual framework. The phenomenological design used a convenience sampling of 16 teachers who taught in high-poverty urban schools at least 10 years. The two research questions explored the commonalities of participants’ experiences in high-poverty, urban schools to reveal why teachers remain in these challenging schools by choice. Data were collected from one-on-one interviews. A phenomenological analysis and coding were utilized to analyze interview data. The findings indicated that most teachers at high-poverty, urban schools recognize the challenges associated with the specific unmet needs of their students and the teachers remain dedicated to helping their students improve academically. Recommendations for educational stakeholders are to (a) train preservice and current high-poverty, urban school educators to understand the complexities of poverty; and (b) implement the standards of the whole child approach.

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