Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award

Spring 5-2018


Social Work

Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Kyeonghee Jang

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Stephanie Hamm

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Sarah McLean


Homeless youth face many barriers during their education that have an impact on their overall success in completing school. This study attempts to identify an evidence-based practice to support homeless students in the school setting. Literature suggests that basic need services are more frequently implemented in schools rather than interventions aimed to address academic, attendance, and behavioral concerns. Communities In Schools (CIS) is a dropout prevention program instilled in all of the Abilene Independent School District (AISD) middle schools and high schools. This program utilizes interventions to target students in areas of academics, attendance, and behavior. A gap in the literature was the lack of research for homeless students, specifically in middle schools, and what school interventions are currently being implemented for this subpopulation. This study sought to explore the effects of CIS interventions on school-related outcomes for homeless middle school students. A one-group pretest-posttest was conducted with secondary data from the 2016-2017 school year in all four of the AISD middle schools. In order to address the problem of lacking a control group, the impacts of the intervention were compared between a convenience sample of all homeless case-managed students (n=62) and another sample of 62 non-homeless case-managed students. Results indicated the academic intervention improved academic performance of the homeless students as well as the non-homeless students. The absence, tardy, and behavior interventions did not improve outcomes for either of the groups, which can be attributed to the small sample size of each test. The findings suggest CIS interventions can be considered an evidence- based practice that addresses certain barriers for homeless students. Implications from this study include the continual need for services in schools, the beneficial impact of community programs in schools for homeless youth, and a need for further studies that research this subject with a more reliable research design.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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