Date of Award

Fall 9-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Second Advisor

Dr. Graham Weir

Third Advisor

Dr. Deb Ayres


Although the number of high school students not graduating is alarming, a successful transition from middle school to high school can place students on the path toward graduation. In 2009, a large, suburban high school implemented a school-within-a-school program to help ease this difficult transition for incoming, at-risk freshmen students. The school-within-a-school program assists students before they begin to struggle while providing them with a team teaching approach within the traditional high school setting. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the school-within-a-school program on student success, using the school district‘s outcome measures of grades and attendance, while also using data gathered from surveys to examine students‘ perceptions of the program. This study indicated that a one-year, voluntary school-within-a-school program consisting of approximately 15 students per class was able to meet the needs of at-risk freshmen by decreasing the number of semester F‘s and changing their perceptions of school as compared to their middle school experiences. Overall, the participants were satisfied and perceived the school-within-a-school program to be beneficial. While results revealed that the program increased students‘ academic achievement and their perceptions of school while enrolled in the program, it did not have a statistically significant difference on student attendance. This study will be beneficial to other school districts seeking the implementation of a transitional alternative program in the traditional school setting for at-risk freshmen.


Copyright 2011