Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Dr. Shelley Jallow

Second Supervisor

Dr. Byron Hargrove


The high school graduation rate in New York City has increased approximately 25% over the last 10 years (New York Department of Education, 2019). While there have been improvements in the graduation rates, approximately 30% of NYC high school students do not graduate within the 4-year timeframe. The purpose of this qualitative narrative inquiry study was to explore the perceptions and experiences of recent NYC alternative high school graduates related to the Framework for Great Schools’ three elements of trust, supportive environment, and strong family/community ties (NYCDOE, 2019).The research data was captured through in-depth semi-structured interviews. The data was analyzed and the findings revealed that recent NYC alternative graduates’ experiences related to their traditional schools were primarily negative, attributed their successful completion of high school to staff relationships and motivation built within their alternative high school settings, and recent NYC alternative high school graduates function best in environments that are smaller in size and participants. The findings were linked to the three elements of trust, strong family/community ties, and supportive environments as defined by the Framework for Great Schools. Recommendations include schools intentionally creating a nonjudgmental and supportive environment, promoting/conducting non-disciplinary communication and outreach with student families, and creating policies within school to reacclimatize students who have returned from a long-term absence or suspension.

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