An At-risk Small Urban High School: Maintaining Accreditation Status

An At-risk Small Urban High School: Maintaining Accreditation Status

Author: 
Laszlo Kirchmann, Jr
Program of study: 
Ed.D.
Abstract: 
The purpose of this qualitative single case study was to investigate the performance of a small, urban high school in the northeastern United States by examining graduation rates, attendance, test scores, and inappropriate student behavior to determine at what levels the school is at risk of losing accreditation. The selected school had declined since 2009 to the point of being ranked as the fifth lowest performing school in the metropolitan area in 2013. A qualitative single case study design involved the examination of three sources of evidence: administrative documentation, archival records, and interviews with teachers and staff. To be included in the study, participants had to have worked at the school for at least 5 years as certified personnel. After confirming the data were accurate, the transcripts were entered into NVivo 7, a qualitative analysis software program. Coding of the data resulted in approximately 130 individual or ideographic themes for the teachers, administrators, and guidance counselor. The individual themes for the participants were reduced to four combined common or nomothetic themes. Those themes were (a) student attendance rates reflect the quality of the school, (b) Regents test scores reflect the quality of the school, (c) verbal exchanges and behaviors among students reflect the quality of the school, and (d) student/teacher morale reflects the quality of the school. The findings in this study indicated a connection between teachers, administrators, guidance counselor, parents, and students at this small urban public school that contributed to the performance of the selected school.
Dedication: 
This work is dedicated to my parents who raised me to become the person I am today. This dissertation is also dedicated to my wife who has supported me through it all. Without her, life would have little meaning.
Acknowledgements: 
This study would not have been possible without the assistance of many people including family, my Chair, and committee members. I graciously acknowledge the guidance of Dr. Maria Navarro, my dissertation chair, whose consistency and guidance made this research journey rewarding. I also acknowledge my committee members Dr. Norma J. Turner, whose suggestions and critiques aided me immensely, and Dr. Colleen Rojas, who helped make decisions as to the worth of my dissertation. I genuinely thank you all for everything you have done.