School of Education
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)
Kenneth R. Tierce
At-risk, Dropout, Dropout Prevention, Engaging Curriculum
Sorensen, Alan J., "How a School Leader Creates a Successful Dropout Prevention Program: A Case Study" (2019). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 2289.
The purpose of this single instrumental case study was to understand how a school leader develops policies and programs that create a successful dropout prevention program. The three theories used in this study included constructivism (how people learn), social-cognitive learning theory (how people think, feel, and behave influences their ability to learn), and attribution theory (how people interpret and explain behavior). The central question and subquestions of this study revolved around how administrators and teachers perceive a school leader develops policies and programs that create a successful dropout prevention program. Data collection included documents, testimonies written by graduates, individual interviews, and a focus group interview. Individual interviews were conducted with three former administrators, one former teacher at the school who is now the administrator of the school, and three teachers. A focus group was conducted with seven teachers, including two of the teachers interviewed separately. Data analysis included pattern, theme, and content analysis methodology to understand the data, as suggested by Patton (2002). Key findings included (a) successful dropout prevention programs have innovative and engaging curriculum, (b) they create a culture or community, (c) they provide a structure which includes such things as broadening teacher roles and decision-making within the school, and (d) all the successes within the school need to be publicized.