Writing the Divide: High School Students Crossing Urban-Suburban Contexts

Gretchen E. Lopez, A. Wendy Nastasi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Given persisting patterns of racial, ethnic, and class re-segregation, this study considers opportunities that high school-aged youth have to cross these divides. What critical learning might occur? What can educators learn from student reflections toward providing opportunities, experiences, or structures to challenge the status quo? In considering these important questions, we review research literature on youth experience, learning, and reflection through structured opportunities to engage in education and critical thinking across social locations. Program examples, pedagogy, accompanying research, and evaluation are summarized to frame a sustained university-high school collaboration. This collaborative project extends dialogic pedagogy practiced in higher education contexts to engagement with and across urban and suburban schools. We describe a partnership between an Intergroup Dialogue Program at a Northeastern university and two local high schools; one school located in a city school district serving a majority student of color population and the other school located within an outlying suburban district serving a predominantly white student population. This article describes pedagogy and student work from the institute with evaluation focused on students' written responses to open-ended surveys. Three important themes emerged: students' growing awareness of inequalities, reflections on agency, and interest in further engagement. These themes connected with reflections from the high school teachers and university dialogue facilitators who worked with and learned from these youth through the institute. The discussion calls for further research on youth voices and higher education-high school collaboration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-158
Number of pages21
JournalEquity and Excellence in Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Writing the Divide: High School Students Crossing Urban-Suburban Contexts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this