Date of Award

Spring 4-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Ginny Birky, PhD

Second Advisor

Patrick Allen, PhD

Third Advisor

Karen Buchanan, EdD


With the current educational focus on preparing all students to be college- and career-ready when they graduate from high school, supporting students with a smooth transition to high school and a successful high school experience has never been more important. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of seven tenth-grade students as they described their transition from junior high school to high school. Data were collected through personal interviews with high school students from a small rural community in California.

Five themes emerged from the data. They were related to informational meetings implemented at the junior high level, student-centered activities facilitated by peers and scheduled for the days preceding the start of school, after-school tutorials, teacher expectations that were clearly communicated to students, and student relationships with faculty and staff. As a result of the study, a number of strategies were identified that can be applied to high schools interested in students’ successful transition to high school. Teachers and staff can be sent to junior high schools to hold informational meetings and begin building relationships with students. In addition, activities for incoming freshmen should be held a few days before high school begins in the fall, allowing students a chance to ask questions and give students an opportunity to get to know high school staff. When these practices are used, there is the potential for more successful transitions and increased student success during their freshman year of high school.