Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


R. Newell


This report describes a program designed to reduce the number of at-risk students in twelve secondary schools in a rapidly changing urban district of Southeast Florida. Problem evidence included the numbers of students identified as at-risk on the district's student assistance profiles. Thirty percent of the secondary students in the twelve schools were identified as at-risk. Analysis revealed inequities in the overrepresentation of Black and Hispanic youth. Interviews with school psychologists, special counselors and other school-site staff indicated that teachers did not assess the learning styles of students, nor adjust for differences. Statistical evidence indicated that low grade point average was the most frequently occurring indicator of being at-risk, followed closely by absences and suspensions. The project sought to reduce the total number of at-risk students in the Region V secondary schools. It also sought to reduce the occurrence of the three main indicators, and to obtain a significant reduction in the three main indicators, and to obtain a significant reduction in the overrepresentation of Hispanic and Black students. A program was developed in which school psychologists worked with teachers to identify and implement alternative instructional strategies. Psychologists served as consultants to the process of building a more nurturing environment for at-risk students. Other strategies to reduce the numbers of at-risk students included: 1) a systematic information sharing campaign on the characteristics of at-risk student behavior, 2) a qualitative and quantitative enhancement of programs for students at-risk, 3) a systematic means of increasing the work time of school psychologists on preventive interventions. As a result of the implementation, the total number of at-risk students in the twelve secondary schools declined by 23 percent. The number of Black students declined by 24 percent. The number of Hispanic students declined by 31 percent. Occurrences of the three main indicators declined as follows: Absences - 27 percent, GPA - 27 percent, Suspensions – 33 percent.

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