Date of Award

Fall 12-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Chair

Dr. Rose M. McNeese

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Dr. Tammy Greer

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Dr. David Lee

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 4

Dr. Sharon Rouse

Committee Member 4 Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Abstract

The purpose was to identify what factors supported students reengaging in high school by correcting patterns of chronic absenteeism or re-enrolling in order to achieve the status of high school graduate. To identify these factors, the researcher relied on the qualitative approach of Grounded Theory as a guide to evaluate the results of the study. Nineteen students attending a traditional high school, a digital academy, or an adult education program were randomly selected from a pool of selected students who met the criteria for participation in the study. The selected students were interviewed by the researcher with questions focusing on what encouraged or supported a decision by the student to change their attendance patterns and align with the educational requirements to obtain a high school diploma. Student selection for participation in this study was conducted by the participating schools’ guidance counselors and was based on the students’ attendance data or their status of dropping out and re-entering high school. The results of the study regarding reasons for re-enrolling in school after dropping out included:

1. Most of the students left school during their sophomore year;

2. Top reasons listed by students for school disengagement were school factors, student factors, medical factors, and economic factors;

3. Many students had a strong self-preservation impulse;

4. Top reasons listed by students for returning to school were inner resiliency, an improved school environment, and support of family and significant others;

5. Family and friends were very important to re-enrolling students by providing moral and emotional supports;

6. Students took advantage of re-enrollment opportunities, if the process was easyto navigate; and

7. Students desired to be treated with fairness and consistency.

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