Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Leonard C. Burrello, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Valerie J. Janesick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James L. Paul, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Rosemary B. Closson, Ph.D.


American male students of African descent, High school dropouts African-American males, Black males


School districts are failing to educate all of America's children. Dropout statistics reveal that almost 7,000 students leave our nation's schools everyday. At this rate 1.2 million students will not graduate on time with their prospective classes. The majority of American male students of African descent are dropping out instead of completing high school. When compared to that of their white peers, the dropout rate of American male students of African descent is significantly higher and the graduation rate much lower.

This research examines high school dropouts from the perspectives of school-based leaders in a high school located in a city in a large southern school district. Structured interviews, transcribed with member-checks, were conducted with eight school-based leaders. The data in this qualitative study were used to examine their perspectives of American male students of African descent dropping out of their high school. The researcher maintained a reflective research journal to enhance the data analysis. The study found that the perspectives of the eight school-based leaders were influenced by their past histories with these students; their personal and acquired knowledge of these students, their families, and their communities. They were largely uniformed of the dropout rate and their previous history with these students had an impact on their present level of support to these students.