Case Study: An Approach to Assess the Impact of the Student Success Program that Target Students in Poverty at a New England School

LaRoche, Kendra
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Southern New Hampshire University
Defining success is difficult due to the abstract nature of the term and the multiple, competing ideas of what success looks like. Therefore, assessing the impact of a program designed to increase student success in an independent, rural high school is murky. The purpose of this dissertation in practice is to understand what students determine as their own factors in their success. This positive deviance approach gives voices to students in the definition of success and allows the resulting suggestions to be implemented at the local level. This scholar-practitioner dissertation in practice uses a positive deviant lens to examine why some students from poverty perform well at a New England high school, with the goal of generalizing the successful findings to better serve future students living in poverty. Participant selection also used a positive deviant approach. Data analysis and interpretation was conducted from interviews, document review, and a teacher survey. The findings of this study indicate five traits of success in the participant: organization, perseverance, resiliency, empathy, and connections. Additionally, the findings indicate further research could be done in the areas of the role of special educators in the lives of students, the concept of Goals, Habits, Growth as a framework of success, and the relationship between helping others and personal success.