Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Patrick Allen

Second Advisor

Susanna Steeg

Third Advisor

Gary Tiffin


This is a case study of six students who chose to leave a comprehensive high school that has a reputation for academic excellence. Through a triangulation of data from semi-structured private interviews with the students and their school counselors and the students’ academic records, the details of the students’ experiences at a high school exposed some of the personal factors and school-based factors that influenced their decision to leave. All of these students struggled academically, socially, or emotionally. The major thematic categories for reasons the students left that emerged from the interviews were student mobility, mental illness, socio-economic pressure, academic pressure, and availability of school-based interventions. Interviews revealed the likelihood that if more school-based supports were available at the high school, all six of the students in the study could have found a way to be academically successful without leaving the school. The major recommendation for practice and policy is that school districts could learn from the students who choose to leave their school system so that they can identify specific school-based interventions and educational opportunities that will support their at-risk students.


Presented to Doctor of Education Program and the School of Education, George Fox University.
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education.

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