Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science



Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Matthew Davis, PhD

Second Reader

Zoee Bartholomew, EdD


This research explored how participatory action research (PAR) specifically youth participatory action research (YPAR) could be utilized to help inform and bring change to an alternative high school’s trauma-informed care. The study was informed by critical race theory (Yosso, 2005), trauma-informed care (Day et al, 2017), and youth participatory action research (Halliday, 2019; Goessling, 2020). The YPAR project was conducted at an urban/suburban alternative education high school in Marin county California with nine 11th and 12th graders who engaged in a series of subject-themed forums and then created a podcast informed by an interview they conducted with a community member. Students held a symposium in which they shared the podcasts with administration and other adult leaders and successfully petitioned the school administration to add after school programs. The research found that YPAR is a culturally responsive way to cultivate student agency around school policy and support meaningful exploratory dialogue that informs engaged practices in the delivery of trauma-informed care. These findings have important implications for how teachers can provide the space for students to create change in their school environments, support one another in navigating life challenges and create connections to mentors in the larger community.

IRB Number


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