Date of Award

Spring 6-10-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Education


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Hilary Conklin

Second Advisor

Thomas Noel

Third Advisor

Melissa Bradford


School leaders and educators across the country are striving to improve instruction for ethnically, culturally, and socio-economically diverse students for long term learning and growth. For years, researchers and scholars praised the tenets of culturally responsive instruction as the solution to meeting the needs of this growing diversity in schools. Unfortunately, many students from ethnically and culturally diverse communities do not have schooling experiences that validate and affirm their knowledge. Culturally responsive teaching is still an area that is under researched, specifically in mathematics. Drawing on the theoretical lens of culturally responsive pedagogy, this mixed methods case study aimed to gain a deeper understanding of mathematics teachers who have culturally sustaining beliefs of their students of color. The study collected information on their planning and implementation of culturally responsive practices and sought to learn about what contributes to or limits their practices on a daily basis. A survey was administered to mathematics teachers in a suburban public school district in the Midwest to identify participants for an interview. Six 3rd-5th grade teachers were interviewed and the findings were organized around six major elements tied to the Culturally Responsive Framework. Overall, the findings illuminated some aspects of the Framework as well as areas of continued growth. Two areas of significance were districtwide culturally responsive training and a newly adopted math curriculum and its impact on the teachers’ use of culturally responsive practices. The findings may provide guidance to district leadership on district initiatives and the alignment with other areas of focus, such as culturally responsive training and adopting new curriculum.