Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Kathryn A. Kozaitis - Chair

Second Advisor

Gabriel Kuperminc

Third Advisor

Emanuela Guano

Fourth Advisor

Cassandra White


This thesis is about the Reading and Writing for Filmmaking Afterschool program, an extracurricular focus group centered around engaging urban immigrant and minority working-class high school students in a discussion about high school dropout using participatory video as a methodological tool. The program was created under the assumption that, (1) within 'free spaces' students who are encouraged to express themselves and explore their social realities through innovative methods will reveal their understanding of high school dropout and the factors contributing to it, and (2) the way these students conceptualize and talk about high school dropout is significant to understanding this phenomenon. Through participatory video, observation, interviews, and storyboard narratives, I examine the discourse of minority and immigrant students as a means of understanding their cultural assumptions and observations of school dropout. As a result, this paper illuminates the issue of immigrant educational retention and attrition in an urban public school setting.

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