Term of Award

Spring 2008

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

Reavis, Charles

Committee Member 1

Sonya Shepherd

Committee Member 2

Bryan Griffin

Abstract

Georgia's dropout rate in the school year 2004-2005 was 5.0% while the nation's rate was 9.4%. Dropout statistics show that some schools have lower dropout rates than others, especially those with similar demographics. This study examined six schools with similar demographics with high, average, and low dropout rates. This study sought to find out what are the factors that can reduce the dropout rate in high poverty schools in the state of Georgia. This study sought to find out additional questions that included: Why is it that some schools have low dropout rates while others have high dropout rates? What practices, strategies, or services are being implemented in those schools that have the low dropout rates? What factors exist between the compared schools that relate to culture and school environment? and Is the leadership behavior of the administration making the different in who drops out? This was a qualitative study that included in depth interviewing and triangulation of the researchers field notes, observations, and data retrieved from the schools policies and manuals. Interviews from five participants at each school that included two seniors at risk, two veteran teachers, and an administrator or counselor were recorded, transcribed and searched for common themes. Findings showed that schools that had a Zero 0 tolerance for unacceptable behavior had higher absenteeism of students with 15 days or more were the schools that had high dropout rates. Schools that had a faculty and staff that provided nurturing and care to include rewards, dining out in expensive restaurants, and providing students with whatever they needed had low dropout rates. The researcher implicated that schools with a Zero 0 Tolerance policy might want to examine other ways of handling inappropriate behavior and high dropout rate schools might want to consider staff development on building relationships; also schools might want to consider research implementing a ninth grade academy to help make the transition from middle to high school easier.

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