Kyle Beckham
Graduate School of Education

Kyle Beckham is a sixth year doctoral candidate at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education in the program of Race, Inequality and Language in Education (RILE), Kyle’s research focuses on alternative public “last-chance” schools in California, particularly continuation high schools. He examines what it means for students to be labeled perpetual failures and pushed out of their comprehensive high school environments and into new schooling contexts designed to either warehouse, reform, re-engage, and/or empower them.

While at Stanford Kyle has worked and continues to work closely with the Stanford Teacher Education Program, teaching a variety of courses to help prepare future teachers for life in American classrooms. Additionally, he serves as adjunct faculty at the University of San Francisco’s School of Education in the Teacher Education department, teaching the capstone class for the program’s master’s degree students.

Before graduate school, Kyle was a Social Studies, Media Arts, Literacy and Special Education teacher at Downtown Continuation High School in San Francisco for nine years, co-teaching a variety of interdisciplinary project-based courses ranging from filmmaking to Physics Reflected in Social Movements (PRISM). He spent a year prior to that teaching at the now-defunct School for Social Justice and Community Development in Oakland. While in San Francisco, he worked closely with other teachers to help design a 9th grade Ethnic Studies curriculum that is now offered in all San Francisco high schools.

Dissertation: The Real-Alternative School Paradox: Success, Failure, Race, and Sensemaking in a California Continuation High School

Using historical archival data to situate a contemporary ethnographic study, my project focuses on the life of a California continuation high school—a "last-chance" school for students significantly at-risk of dropping out. I seek to bring greater clarity to how students are acquired into and make sense of school failure, what it means to teach and make sense in an environment predicated on various kinds of highly racialized failure, and how success is and is not redefined in such an environment.