Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Lisa Hobson

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Katherine Yeager

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Andrew Lumpe



This mixed-methods study explored a problem within dropout research which often fails to link characteristics of student subgroups with effective dropout interventions. Considering the characteristics identified in the literature of at-risk learners, the conceptual framework for this study combined the theory of self-efficacy and leadership with emphasis on servant leadership. The purpose of the study was to evaluate dropout intervention and prevention programs in two high schools by examining intervention and leadership practices for students at risk of dropping out of high school. Through causal-comparative and phenomenological approaches, this investigation focused on identifying dropout factors targeted in the intervention and prevention initiatives, differences in archived dropout rates over a period of 12 years, and differences in teachers’ perceptions of their leaders’ servant behaviors of stewardship, authenticity, standing back, and empowerment. The analysis of interviews with teachers and principals in a large school district in Texas resulted in three major themes and seven subthemes that described the nature of the intervention and prevention initiatives, factors targeted, roles of teachers, leadership behaviors, and types of services afforded to students. Hypothesis testing using a Mann Whitney U test resulted in no statistically significant differences in how teachers from two schools perceived the servant leadership behaviors of their school leaders. The comparison of dropout rates between the two schools revealed a statistically significant difference, although both schools’ dropout rates increased post-intervention. Recommendations for the district and schools included instituting on-the-job credit programs in conjunction with the vocational curriculum and flexible schedules for students to complete high school requirements.

Keywords: dropout, dropout prevention and intervention, dropout factors, at risk, self-efficacy, leadership

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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