Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership


Research has continued to indicate that students’ academic success is determined by their socioeconomic status. In responding to the challenges faced by youth living in poverty, researchers have focused on identifying factors that provide supportive resources and protective mechanisms for fostering healthy development and learning success of at risk children and youth. The research described in this study involved qualitative research methodologies and grounded theory to examine at-risk high school students’ perceptions of their school’s ability to foster a culture of resilience. The purpose of the study was to identify those protective factors crucial for fostering educational resilience for at risk 16 to 18-year-old minority students in a suburban high school. The research uncovered the presence of reflective reciprocity syndrome, which was identified as the paralleled or mirrored interactions between teachers and students where teachers’ responses to students are reflective of students’ responses to teachers. Recommendations include raising educators’ awareness of the presence of reflective reciprocity syndrome in order to combat its negative effects in order to serve all students.

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