Date of Award

2-7-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Douglas Lare, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Valeri Helterbran, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Joyce Burgener, Ph.D.

Abstract

This case study investigated the effects of year-round school on students with learning disabilities at Abraxas High School in Poway, California. Abraxas is an alternative school that operates on a block schedule and year-round calendar. The researcher attempted to answer the question: How does year-round school impact students with learning disabilities? The researcher implemented a mixed methods approach that utilized both quantitative and qualitative components. Data were collected from the California Department of Education and from the Abraxas High School website and district personnel regarding the graduation rate, average daily attendance, discipline reports and average credits earned. The researcher gathered additional information through surveys and interviews from the high school staff and from parents of students with learning disabilities. The findings of this study were mixed. Since Abraxas has gone to a year-round calendar, the graduation rate and average credits earned of students with learning disabilities have been increasing, discipline issues have been decreasing and attendance has remained under 50%. Although there are a number of positive things going on at Abraxas, it cannot be shown that year-round school has made a positive impact on the graduation rate, attendance, discipline issues and average credits earned. Additionally, according to teacher and parent surveys and interviews, the school climate is one that is conducive to learning and is student-driven. The faculty is very committed to student success and as an outsider observing the school, it is apparent that teacher experience has as much an impact on the student learning at this year-round school. Questions raised for additional research are: How beneficial is a balanced calendar to "at-risk" students and students with learning disabilities? Is California's Alternative Schools Accountability model the best model to measure student success and the success of a school program? Using data from formative assessments, what is the impact of summer learning loss on students with learning disabilities?

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