Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


James Pann

Committee Member

David Weintraub

Committee Member

Ronald J. Chenail


alternative education, alternative programs, at risk behavior, at risk youth, dropout characteristics, student dropout


At-risk youth are the population of students who cannot manage to conform to the traditional school expectations due to their behavior choices. However, their choices are reflections of both avoidable and unavoidable conditions and circumstances. The bottom line is that those conditions usually lead them to drop out of school. There are several factors that contribute to why youth drop out of school. While some factors are more obvious than others, the overall goal should be to minimize factors that are within the control of stakeholders and decision makers so that youth have opportunities to complete high school with a traditional high school diploma or general equivalency diploma.

Participants of the study provided solid feedback as to why they dropped out of high school. Some dropped out for family problems, lack of motivation, student school relationships, academic challenges, and behavior issues. When the educational sector cannot control their behaviors, the decision makers can help minimize issues that have been proven to contribute to those behaviors. As an example, they can provide alternative programs, students with academic support, healthy working relationships, motivation, teaching strategies, learning styles and interventions, and school accountability. Participants in this study felt that these were main reasons why they were able to complete school when all odds were against them. Students felt having an alternative route that consisted of caring school relationships, different teaching and learning styles, motivation, academic, attendance, behavior support, and a solid accountability plan were the solution to them graduating and moving on to become effective and productive citizens.

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