How Does Engaging with On-campus Systems of Care Services Contribute Toward On-Time Graduation: Perceptions of Recent Graduate Participants and Advice to School Leaders
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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For decades, schools have sought to level inequities facing students through programs focusing on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: feed them and keep them safe and they can succeed. Though traditional services including free and reduced meal programs are helpful, they have not proven successful toward increasing graduation rates for students of color or from lower socioeconomic communities, which continue to measure below the average for the population. I argue that as school leaders face increased societal and political pressures to improve equitable access to educational programs and to increase graduation rates in their communities, they must embrace Freire’s convictions to build school programs that challenge oppression, injustice, and disproportionate power in schools by providing quality educational experiences (Shor & Freire, 1987) and recognizing each student’s expertise to explain their own life experiences (Singer & Pezone, 2003). This explanatory case study utilized semi-structured open-ended interviews to gain understanding of how participation in an extended wraparound systems of care model located on the campus of a southeastern Title-1 high school supported students with on-time graduation. Further, these young adults shared their life experiences and subsequent support for school leaders across the nation to implement similar programs to meet the socioeconomic, mental health, and other needs of students and families in their communities.