Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Ed.S. in Education Leadership Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Eloise Marks-Stewart, Ed.D.


Martin Finkelstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Erin O'Connell, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Tina Powell, Ed.D.


cohesive school culture, college-linking, habitus, social capital


The purpose of the study is to identify and measure the influence of school’s organizational culture on the college-going mindset, attitudes, behaviors, and actions of its student population. The research was conducted using a qualitative design. A grounded theory methodology was employed to obtain a comprehensive view of the school culture and how it fosters a college-going habitus for individual students and the organizational culture. The data collection methodology used for this study was a focus group research protocol. In total, 36 participants contributed during eight homogeneous group sessions: administrators, teachers and counselors, alumni, and parent alumni via a video conference interview format, using a semi-structured guided question process, to garner and share their views, impressions, and ideas regarding their experiences with the school community. The research study focused on school culture elements, school-based social capital dynamics, and aspects of the college-linking process. There were three major themes found in this study: Theme 1: identifying a clear mission to unify the goals of YMCPA; Theme 2: providing tools and resources for postsecondary success; and Theme 3: building social cohesion through school culture. The core of the proposed theory generated from this grounded theory study is termed “theory of cohesive school culture.” Among all three overarching themes, cohesion in school culture remained a central theme when referring to YMCPA’s organizational culture in relation to the college-going mindset, attitudes, behaviors, and actions of its student population.