Date of Award

Spring 5-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Beth Kania-Gosche

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Crockett-Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. Graham Weir

Abstract

I examined the perceptions of parents, students, and teachers of Saturday Academy, an intervention for students who are at risk of failing academically. The problem is that nearly half of students who attend high school may be at risk of dropping out before they graduate. The purpose of this study was to describe, evaluate, and analyze the perceptions of students, parents, and teachers of Saturday Academy. This study is significant because at-risk students are in need of an intervention that helps them to be successful at school. The study was conducted in a small middle school within a large school district. The middle school includes grades seven through eight and services approximately 338 students. Ninety-five percent of the student body receives free or reduced lunch. The school is a high poverty school. The general research question was, how do students, teachers, and parents perceive Saturday Academy influences student engagement, parent engagement, and peer engagement? Qualitative research methodology, consisting of students, teachers, and parent questionnaires and interviews, was used to examine stakeholder perceptions of Saturday Academy. Quantitative data were collected that included MAP scores, Gates McGinnity Reading Test scores, discipline records, classroom grades, and attendance records to verify the qualitative findings. Results revealed that parents perceived the intervention as a constructive activity in which their child could participate on a Saturday. However, parents reported that they were not sure whether the intervention met the academic needs of their child. The students’ perception of the intervention was in general the same as their parents, reporting that Saturday Academy was fun for the student. Students liked the field trips, and they learned new things. Teachers iii perceived the intervention to be positive, but perceived that it was not the best solution to the problem because there is no one size that fits all. Most of the teachers believed some of the goals of Saturday Academy were met, but most of them had suggestions for improvement. In conclusion, the findings of the qualitative study involving parents, teachers, and students revealed important information about an intervention for at-risk students that could be generalized to other at-risk student interventions.

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