Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Kay A. Keiser


This qualitative study explored how graffiti artists perceived their experience of belonging to a school based program, the Packasso Project, focused on redirecting their artistic talents and re-engage them into the educational process. Five former members of the program participated in the study. Data was collected through individual, in-depth interviews with the participants to address three primary research questions related to the participants’ perceptions about belonging to the Packasso Project and its connection with graffiti art and academic outcomes. Through analysis of the data, insight was provided into the various social and academic factors impacting graffiti artists’ school engagement. Subsequently, three major themes emerged: 1) Need for recognition, 2) Value of relationships, and 3) School engagement. Findings from this study indicate that the majority of the participants struggled with school engagement until they became part of the Packasso Project. The insight this research provides may allow educators to create supportive learning environments in which diverse groups of students not only stay engaged in school, but also experience academic learning and success that is the byproduct of continuous engagement.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2015 Fairouz Bishara-Rantisi.

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