Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Esposito - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Sheryl Gowen

Third Advisor

Dr. Carolyn Furlow

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Carlos McCray

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Susan Ogletree


ABSTRACT THE REVOLUTION BEGINS AT 3PM: A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF A STATEWIDE 21ST CENTURY COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTERS PROGRAM by Corrie L. Davis The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore how teachers and staff members demonstrated caring toward their students within a statewide 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) afterschool program. The participants in the study included 17 program directors, 22 site coordinators, 16 teachers, 3 paraprofessionals, 11 parents, 11 principals, and 18 other stakeholders associated with the program. This multi-site case study utilized the naturalistic paradigm of qualitative research. The data collection process included 98 semi-structured interviews, 22 participant observations, 112 photographs, and document analyses with materials from the 20 grantees selected in the sample. The qualitative software program, Atlas.ti: The Knowledge Workbench (2003) assisted with the management and analysis of data during the coding, categorizing, and interpretation process. Findings from the study revealed 3 central themes: (a) staff members that care about the whole child educate the whole child, (b) using culture as an asset increases students’ desire to learn and (c) building character promotes positive change. By incorporating these attributes, the program’s staff demonstrated their commitment to the academic and democratic advancement of the students in their care. This study will help inform policy makers, afterschool advocates, and 21st CCLC stakeholders about the importance of incorporating caring, culturally relevant pedagogy, and character education within local and national afterschool programs.