Document Type

Article

Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

Mark A. Lamport

Primary Subject Area

Education, Elementary; Education, Secondary; Education, Administration

Keywords

Barriers to high school diploma, Dropout recovery, High school diploma, Non-traditional high schools, Qualitative phenomonology, Senior high school dropouts

Disciplines

Education | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration

Abstract

This study examined the characteristics of a high school environment that former senior year dropouts were looking for when they returned to school to attain their diploma. A phenomenological qualitative design was used to identify the reasons seniors dropped out of school, the factors that influenced them to return, the characteristics of the high school environment they deemed most desirable, and the differences between the perceptions of African American and Caucasian students in their responses. Eight former senior year dropouts from one South Georgia school district participated in two individual student interviews and one focus group interview to determine these answers. After coding the responses and identifying common themes, I had a record of the lived experiences and personal voices of these students that determined the essence of their experience. Five participants felt strongly that without the non-traditional high school, they would never have earned their diploma. Recommendations for further studies are included.