Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Ronald D. Valenti

Second Supervisor

Winsome Gregory


This study examined the cultivation of educational resilience among upper elementary and middle school students experiencing multiple grade retention. Multiple grade retention means that a student has been retained in grade or “left back” more than once. These students are referred to within this study as “Multiple Holdovers” (MHO). The primary purpose of this study was to (a) examine the presence of resilience attributes as self-reported by MHO students in grades four through eight; and to (b) illuminate the perceptions of school leaders and teachers in schools attended by these MHO students with regard to each school’s readiness, efforts, accomplishments, and challenges to student resilience building. The research context for this study is a small sample of elementary and middle schools within the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). In this two-phased, mixed-methods (QUAN-QUAL) study, data was collected from responses to two questionnaire instruments completed by 13 MHO students and 17 educators (school leaders and teachers) in seven schools across three New York City boroughs. In addition, data was collected from educators in face-to-face interviews. These data were triangulated to corroborate the respondents’ perspectives on school-based student resilience-building. Findings support the need and importance of positive school relationships with MHO students to help them thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

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