Michelle K. Ramzan, Ed.D., is a 2023 graduate of the Ed.D. program in Educational and Professional Practice at Antioch University.

Dissertation Committee:

  • Michael Raffanti, EdD, Committee Chair
  • Emiliano Gonzalez, PhD, Committee Member
  • Heather Curl, EdD, Committee Member


academic intervention, Backward Design, culturally sustaining pedagogy, diversity, equity, instructional practices, project–based learning, science literacy, science teacher, sheltered science, social justice

Document Type


Publication Date



The objective of this dissertation was to explore how the principles of culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP) can inform the design of a junior high school curriculum to enhance science learning by providing meaningful learning experiences to all students. The transformative paradigm provided a framework used as a lens to emphasize the importance of understanding the social, cultural, and historical context in which individuals and communities are situated. CSP and Backward Design Model were applied to develop a curriculum for a sheltered science literacy elective class for below grade level readers. The purpose of using CSP in the curriculum design was to create a more inclusive and culturally sustaining learning environment that would support students in developing strong science literacy skills. Project–based learning (PBL) was used with CSP to allow for flexibility and creativity in project designs that give students the opportunity to explore and experiment with different ideas and approaches in the learning environment. The California Department of Education’s descriptions for effective use of CSP in a classroom was incorporated into the curriculum to be used as an assessment tool measuring the effectiveness of the curriculum. The implications of this curriculum development suggest the effectiveness of CSP on science literacy and its connections enhance student performance in science. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, and OhioLINK ETD Center,


ORCID No.:0009-0009-3631-3037