Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Chair

Dr. David E. Lee

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Dr. Myron B. Labat

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 3

Dr. Stanley C. Benigno

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 4

Dr. James D. King

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether administrators, counselors, and teachers believe that implementing freshman academies, schools-within-schools, and ninth grade schools is an effective way to transition ninth graders into high school. This study included an introduction and a review of literature that discussed the following: adolescent years, transition from 8th to 9th grade, drop-out prevention, school reform in secondary education, professional learning communities, the freshman academy, and a conclusion. This study was also comprised with a methodology section, research results, conclusions, recommendations for policy makers and practitioners, and recommendations for future research.

The questionnaire for this study was developed by the researcher. The questionnaire focused on the areas of demographics, academics, attendance, discipline, school culture, transitioning, socio-economic status, and instructional staff. Data was collected from seven different schools in Mississippi who currently house freshman academies, school-within-schools, and ninth grade schools. A total of 85 questionnaires were completed with 10 of those being administrators, 12 being counselors, and 63 comprised of teachers.

This study specifically examined administrators’, counselors’, and teachers’ opinions regarding the impact freshman academies, schools-within-schools, and ninth grade schools as it relates to effective transitioning. Results illustrated that there was a significant difference in the opinions of administrators, counselors, and teachers in the areas of academic performance, reduced discipline referrals, school culture, transitioning from eighth to ninth grade, and the morale on the staff of the school. However, this study yielded a non-significant relationship among the opinions of administrators, counselors, and teachers concerning the implementation of a freshmen academy on the drop-out rate and improving students from a low socio-economic class. Policymakers and practitioners were encouraged to look at freshman data, collaborate with middle school and high school teachers, and place their best teachers in the ninth grade to ensure a smooth transition for all freshmen.

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