Award Date

December 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Psychology, Leadership, and Higher Education

First Committee Member

Bradley Marianno

Second Committee Member

Miguel Gonzales

Third Committee Member

Alice Corkill

Fourth Committee Member

Jenna Weglarz-Ward

Number of Pages



Some effective components of effective transition programs include using a freshman academy or school-within-a-school model, teacher and peer mentoring and summer bridge programs. This study analyzed the effectiveness of the Gold Program, a middle to high school transition program for at-risk youth in a large urban high school in the southwestern United States. This program incorporated those components in addition to several others, such as: parent involvement, career and technical education, blended learning, behavior interventions, and Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC). Individual components of the Gold Program were chosen to meet the four S’s of Schlossberg’s transition theory which was the framework used: situation, self, supports, and strategies (Schlossberg, 1981). The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to understand the impact “The Gold Program”, a middle to high school transition program, had on the academic achievement levels of at-risk freshmen at a southwestern urban high school in one of the largest school districts in the nation. Specifically, the study looked at the impact of the Gold Program on ninth-grade academic performance, discipline, and attendance. In addition, a second focus was on what the students believed were the most valuable elements of the Gold Program. This study used regression analysis to analyze the impact on academic performance, discipline, and attendance data. In addition, student perception data was gathered from a Likert-type scale survey and some open-ended response questions. The study found no statistically significant results in terms of academic performance, discipline, and attendance in the members of the treatment group. However, student perception data revealed that the students did like being a part of the program. They were able to build supportive relationships that could have a long-term impact on their high school success. The components that students liked the most were relationship centered and included traveling to classes as a cohort, making friends, building relationships with specific teachers, and having a guidance class to assist them. The study showed the Gold Program participants had an increase in credit sufficiency at the end of the ninth-grade year when compared to the comparison group.


at-risk; dropout; graduation; relationships; school-within-a-school; transition


Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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