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Theories of Change Among Single-Sex Schools for Black and Latino Boys: An Intervention in Search of Theory

This brief presents the underlying theory of change surrounding the strategies implemented in seven single sex schools serving Black and Latino boys (grades 4-12). Our attention to the theories surrounding these strategies rests on the presumption that school practice involves complex processes and theories that are often overlooked, especially in current educational reform efforts (e.g., whole school reform, "turnaround" schools strategies). Our analytical approach to understanding single-sex schools for boys of color is to ask the question: what do you do and why do you do it.Our analysis of interviews and focus groups with 75 practitioners (e.g., administrators, teachers, guidance counselors, and social workers) uncovered two overarching theories regarding Black and Latino boys that guide the design of these schools: Theory 1 - schools need to understand and have a knowledge base of the social/emotional needs of Black and Latino boys and Theory 2 - schools need to understand how the academic needs of Black and Latino boys have surfaced and target strategies for addressing those needs.  As this brief demonstrates, it is such an analytical perspective that begins to outline the theory of single-sex schools as an educational equity intervention for Black and Latino boys. 

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