Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Gerri Spinella


The rise in the number of students who drop out of high school has gained national attention. High school dropout rates in the state of Louisiana are a primary concern to school administrators in the state. The Graduation Coach Program is an intervention implemented in several high schools across Louisiana to assist students with completing their high school education. Many of the programs' attributes are based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, students' needs, and the presence of positive adult relationships that might improve student achievement. The purpose of this study was to compare archival attendance and graduation rates among independent groups from years before and after the implementation of the Graduation Coach Program in 4 Louisiana public high schools. Attendance rates included data from 5 years before and 7 years after the program (n = 48), and due to limitations in the archival records, graduation rates included data from 2 years before and 7 years after the program (n = 36). Two independent-samples t tests were conducted, and no significant differences were found between the groups for both measures. Due to power limitations in the group sizes, further research is recommended to include additional campuses that implement the program. Positive social change implications include providing these initial research findings to the study districts' administration to assist with decision making and planning for the Graduation Coach Program used at their campuses. Through continued efforts and research, high school administrators may ultimately improve high school attendance and graduation rates to address the high school dropout problem in Louisiana.