How Future-Focused Elementary School Cultures Influence the Future Aspirations of Low-Income Students: A Comparative Case Study

Through a comparative case study between two low-income elementary schools this study explored the influences of future-focused or college-bound cultures on low-income students’ perceptions of and aspirations toward college and career pathways. Both schools had schoolwide initiatives focused around preparing students for the future. One had initiatives specifically around college-knowledge and developing leadership skills, while the other school focused on fostering global-thinkers and inquiry learners alongside their visual and performing arts magnet. The data collected through this study illustrate how school cultures and initiatives can influence the future aspirations of low-income students from the beginning of their educational careers, with the hopes of narrowing the perpetuated economic divide.