Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Lynne Orr


Student absenteeism in high school continues to be a nationwide educational challenge. In manifestation of this problem, a private high school in Utah was identified as having a significant number of students with excessive absenteeism. Guided by Bronfenbrenner’s socio-ecological theory and Baumrind’s authoritative model, the purpose of this descriptive case study was to explore teacher and administrator perceptions about school climate and how to improve chronic absenteeism (CA). The research questions focused on how faculty perceived school climate, its effect on student absenteeism, and best practices being used to encourage attendance. The data collection included a) descriptive information from 13 participants (12 teachers, 1 administrator) from the School Climate Assessment Instrument, b) 3 semi-structured interviews (2 teachers, 1 administrator), and c) archival data, including 4 years of attendance records. Data analyses included descriptive statistics derived from the attendance records and thematic analysis of the survey and interview data. Despite the study participants perceiving the school as having an overall positve school climate, the attendance records served to establish that the school exhibits CA. The key findings of the study revealed 3 major themes pertaining to the school climate, promoting attendance, and the reduction of CA, including student engagement and connectivity, practices encouraging school attendance, and student achievement. Based on the findings, a 3-day professional development course suggesting best practices to improve student attendance was created. Implementing a solution-based program may promote positive social change for students and staff.

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