Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice


Matthew M. Delaney

Committee Member

Sandra Duncan


at risk students, dropout prevention, educational environment, graduation rate, high schools


This applied dissertation study was designed to assess a high-performing high school’s dropout prevention program that increased graduation rates and decreased dropout rates among high school students. The high-performing high school was chosen because the target site achieved a 90% or higher graduation rate over 5 school years. Four of 19 high schools within the target school district achieved less than a 90% graduation rate. The purpose of this case study was to describe the attitudes, perceptions, and experiences of teachers, guidance counselors, and school-based administrators at a high-performing high school within the target school district—inclusive of a time frame involving two school years (i.e., 2016-2017 and 2017-2018)—to understand better the academic and social behavior that increased the school’s graduation percentages and decreased dropout rates. The research methodology employed a case study to identify the social behaviors of school-based administrators, teachers, and guidance counselors at a high-performing school who were involved in the implementation and matriculation of a dropout prevention program. This study was conducted using one-on-one Zoom interviews to obtain data. The analysis revealed the common themes shared by the participants always focused on the level of care that the teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators have for students. Building relationships, data, increased academic opportunities, positive learning environments, and mentoring were identified as contributing factors to the success of the target high school. The results of the study may be useful to middle and high school school-based principals, teachers, guidance counselors, and superintendents looking for dropout prevention strategies and interventions to improve academic performance and high school graduation rates.