Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


School children-Psychology, Blacks-Race identity, Whites-Race identity, Multicultural education-New York (State)-New York, Manhattan Country School (New York, N.Y.), Racial identity development, Youth's racial identity development


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore which aspects of a multiracial elementary school most contributed to the racial identity development of alumni. The central question asked of the participants was "Do you believe that attending Manhattan Country School affected your racial identity development?" The outcomes of this project can be useful for educators and administrators in both public and independent school settings to understand how best to help their students develop a healthy racial identity. This information may also be useful for clinicians working with young people in an effort to explore their sense of self in a racial context. The participants were all alumni who graduated from Manhattan Country School a small, independent elementary school based in New York City. The sample had three specific characteristics: 1. all alumni attended the school for a minimum of four years, 2. all alumni graduated from the school during the 1980's or the 1990's, 3. and the sample strove to be as gender and racially balanced as possible. The findings show that the most relevant contributing factor to their racial identity was the school culture as defined by the curriculum, the faculty and the student demographics. An unexpected second finding was that the participants all had a difficult adjustment to life after MCS due to less racially diverse high schools lacking a focus on issues of difference.




vi, 81 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 69-72)