Term of Award

Fall 2007

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Walter S. Polka

Committee Member 1

Abebayehu Tekleselassie

Committee Member 2

Leon Spencer

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify the characteristics of successful mentoring programs principals perceived most effective with at risk students. The research conducted intends to be a resource of organized support systems for students considered at risk for academic failure. As an educator, the researcher understands the value of mentoring programs and the support that mentors offer. Mentors create opportunities for students to build self esteem, connectedness, and make healthy decisions through guidance given by one on one or small group interactions. Employing a research instrument composed of ten questions designed to elicit responses relating to two research sub questions, the researcher interviewed nine Georgia principals to ascertain their perceptions of effective mentoring programs serving at risk students. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded for recurring patterns and themes by the researcher. The data displayed in this study was gathered through the use of qualitative methodology. The primary instrument used for this investigation consisted of in depth interviews. The results from the analysis showed that principals view educators as playing a vital role in the success of at risk students. Many viewed educators as role models for students that provide motivation in reaching high expectations set by school and system personnel. The respondents believed there are students that fail despite the schools efforts. Each of them stressed the importance of developing an individualized instructional plan to meet the specific educational needs of at risk students. The results of the study were viewed as being particularly valuable to educational stakeholders such as principals, parents, and students of schools who serve student populations where at risk students (subgroups) have not met adequate yearly progress (AYP) as determine by the Georgia Department of Education and No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

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