Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Irene McAfee


The focus of this study was on identifying the challenges faced by teachers and school personnel at a middle school in educating the whole low socioeconomic status (SES) child academically, socially and emotionally to enhance positive educational outcomes. The unmet academic, social, and emotional needs of the low SES student in the middle school in this case study are having a negative impact on proficiency for these students on the state standardized assessments. Kolb's experiential learning theory and Rogers and Maslow's humanistic theory provided a psychological framework for the study. The qualitative case study included staff interviews and a review of documents. Purposeful sampling included 11 subjects; 6 teachers, 2 counselors, 2 administrators, and the nurse from 1 selected middle school, who had experiences working with low SES students in reading language arts classes in grades 6 through 8. Data from interviews and document review were coded and analyzed for common themes. Results included 4 major themes; student focused instruction, challenges for instructing low SES students, supports needed for effective instruction, and discipline challenges. Findings supported construction of a professional development program project for school personnel that incorporated these themes with emphasis on improving educational outcomes for low SES students by addressing individual social, emotional and academic needs. This study might contribute to positive social change by providing school personnel with the ability to identify and collaboratively address the individual needs of the whole low SES student to enhance their learning and contributions to society.