Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Pamela Scott

Committee Members

William Flora. Richard Griffin


Ninth grade year is the most important challenging year of high school. Many students struggle adjusting to the transition to high school. If supports are not in place, many ninth-grade students are at-risk of dropping out of school. The purpose of this study was to identify and examine the social emotional learning supports in Freshman Academy that assist in the transition to High School. A qualitative investigation was conducted to explore these social emotional supports. This study used a phenomenological methodology, enabling the researcher to gather information from a purposeful selection of educators directly identified by their Academy Principals.

This study employed processes of data collection that included the use of individual interviews found in qualitative design. Analysis of data happened in several steps: (a) transcribing all interviews that were recorded, (b) coding, (c) examining the themes of the codes, and (d) relating the themes to the research questions. The credibility of the analysis was supported by triangulation, member checks, and thick descriptions.

The results revealed that seven themes emerged as identified supports which included: (a) Freshman Seminar programming, (b) personnel supports to include Dean of Students and the School Counselor, (c) Restorative Practices programming, (d) building relationships with students, (e)advisory, (f) informal SEL practices, and (g) teaming.

Based on the research the following conclusions were presented: (a) schools use restorative practices as a means to provide SEL, (b) relationship building is a central focus, (c) and the Freshman Seminar course and content provide meaningful social emotional learning experiences.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.