School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Constance Pearson


rural, teachers, inclusion, extracurricular activities, marginalized high school students, sense of belonging


Educational Leadership


The purpose of this case study was to explore the inclusion process for extracurricular activity sponsors and coaches at a rural high school in southwestern Pennsylvania. The theory guiding this study was Maslow’s theory of human motivation as it provided a structural format that was useful for implementing an inclusive process into extracurricular activities. This was a qualitative, single case study with a purposeful sampling of 11 participants representative of extracurricular activity sponsors and coaches in a rural school district. The central research question was: How do high school extracurricular activities’ sponsors and coaches describe their experiences with the inclusion of marginalized students, ninth-graders, at the rural Mountain Appalachian High School? Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, observations, artifact collection, and journal writing. The data collection was analyzed using Microsoft Excel 365. A qualitative content analysis approach of categorical aggregation and data triangulation to establish themes was implemented to the point of response saturation or the point to which no new knowledge or themes were observed in the data. After analyzing the data collected in this study, eight themes were determined: willingness, relatedness, gratification, inclusivity, concerns, benefits, values, and recruitment.