Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Howard J. Moskowitz


Formerly incarcerated Grade 10'€“12 students in an urban high school in the Southern United States were dropping out at an elevated rate from August 2010 through May 2017. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to gain an understanding of teacher, parent, and academic advisor perceptions of the challenges experienced by Grade 10'€“12 students who had been incarcerated and then returned to a traditional school environment and support services and resources needed to assist with these challenges. Hirschi's social control theory guided this study, which describes 4 elements missing from individuals participating in criminal activity: attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. The 3 research questions addressed (a) parent, teacher, and academic advisor perceptions of the challenges faced by former incarcerated students returning to school, (b) support services and resources needed for those students, and (c) suggestions for administrators to better help those students. Data were collected from 6 teachers, 6 parents, and 6 Academic Advisors, through semistructured interviews and analyzed using Hatch's 9-step typology. The findings indicated that students who had been incarcerated struggled due to issues such as (a) poor academics, (b) peer influence, (c) lack of interest in school, (d) drug and gang involvement, (e) poor communication with the school, (f) mental illness, and (g) behavior problems. The resulting project led to the development of a policy recommendation with supporting white paper focusing on specific interventions to resolve the challenges faced by incarcerated students transitioning back to a typical school environment experience. The study promotes positive social change through increased graduation rates for formerly incarcerated students.