Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Anissa Harris


According to a recent report from the National Center for Educational Statistics, approximately 20% of the United States' high-school aged population is at risk of dropping out of high school, an outcome that strongly limits participation in economic and educational opportunities. The importance of earning a high school diploma has increased many local districts' efforts to close graduation gaps across the student population. Accordingly, this study evaluated a recuperative environmental leadership and service (EL&S) program in a northwestern local district to ascertain its effectiveness in providing at-risk students the personal and academic support required for high school graduation. Following the logic model program theory, this study examined the program's effectiveness in redirecting off-track students by comparing on time (4 year) and extended-time (> 4 years) graduation rates of at-risk students who did participate (n = 96) and did not participate (n = 76) in the EL&S. Through an ANCOVA, the 4 year and extended graduation rates, 68.3% and 89.1%, respectively, were analyzed and found to be higher than the on-time and extended-time graduation rates for the local district, 65.8% and 68.5%. Results indicated that the EL&S does statistically increase the participants' likelihood of graduating from high school. These findings illustrate the utility of EL&S interventions for at-risk students who have experienced multiple indicators of educational failure. Replication or adaptation of this EL&S program could provide social change benefits to educational stakeholders seeking to close the graduation gap; to families seeking educative and personal support for at-risk students; and to struggling students desiring to contribute to the economic, educative, and social growth of their community.