Date Approved

7-2015

Date Posted

3-10-2016

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Barbara Bleyaert, Ed.D., Committee Chair

Committee Member

Theresa Saunders, Ed.D.

Committee Member

James Berry, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Lynn Malinoff, Ed.D.

Abstract

This mixed methods study describes some outcomes of "Champions of Wayne," a privately funded mentoring/incentive program at an impoverished high school near Detroit. Over 500 students enroll in the program annually. The program involves providing high school students who choose to participate both adult mentoring and a $200 incentive to improve one's grades each semester. The quantitative component of this study analyzes GPA data, while a multiple case study of six participants explores mentoring relationships and experiences. In a comparison of the GPA of participants versus non-participants, program participants significantly improve their grades when compared to those student who do not participate in the program. The study revealed that though students initially enroll because of the $200 incentive, they describe the achievement and mentoring to be most influential in the end. A trusting relationship with an educationally successful adult has potential to make a particularly positive impact on an at-risk student from a family with little (or no) educational tradition. The study concludes with recommendations for school leaders interested in implementing a similar program, as well as a speculative discussion of how the program may have a ripple effect on other teacher-student relationships and the overall culture of the school.

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