Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Reginald Leon Green

Committee Member

Beverly Cross

Committee Member

Karen weddle-west

Committee Member

lisa hobson


While there is a sizeable amount of data available documenting a drop-out problem nationally in public high schools, there have been many reforms instituted to rectify this situation (National Research Council, 2003). Mia and Wheelock (2005) found that the grade level that is impacted most by these occurrences is the ninth grade. Gewertz (2007) commented that of all high school students ningh graders compose the largest subgroup who quit school each year. A study of high school drop-outs conducted by Allensworth and Easton in 2007 reported that many of these individuals had failed 25% of their required classes during their freshman year. In an effort to resolve this problem, there has been a movement in many school districts across this country to utilize ninth grade academies (Morgan & Hertzog, 2001). This qualitative study used three different data collection methods: two observations, three interviews, and one focus study group. The findings revealed four themes that resonated from these data collection methodologies. These themes are: the collective experiences of an individual as opposed to a monolithic experience which led them to become instructional leaders of a ninth grade academy. The catalyst for the creation of a ninth grade academy was site-based decision making as opposed to centralized decision-making. Ninth grade academies can be structured in two ways: the seclusion concept or a school-within-a school model. Leaders of ninth grade academies are either introverted or extroverted. This inquiry project is essential to the field of educational leadership because it incorporates existing data about ninth grade academies as the foundational layer. In addition to this, it captured existing data pertaining to drop-outs at the ninth grade and illuminated the processes, procedures, and best practices utilized by instructional leaders at ninth grade academies in their continuous effort to resolve this problem. This collective case study examined two instructional leaders at two different ninth grade academies and their implementation of processes, procedures, and best practices to mitigate the drop-out phenomenon at this grade level.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.