Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Sarah Kiefer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Cheryl Ellerbrock, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Mann, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rob Riordan, Ph.D.


Adult and Peer Mentors, Advisory Period, Community of Care, School Belonging, Social Emotional Learning


The purpose of this phenomenological, single case study was to evaluate the innovative programming of an Academic Resource and Social Emotional Learning (AR/SEL) Advisory Period at one large suburban public high school in the southeastern United States. The AR/SEL Advisory Period incorporates academic, mindfulness, and mental health initiatives, in tandem with relationship building tools for adults and students. The AR/SEL Advisory Period aims to provide an equitable learning environment where all students have an opportunity to develop high quality relationships with adult mentors and peers, as well as experience a sense of belongingness and community of care. The question that guided the evaluation was: How do the assistant principals, school-based leadership team members, department chairs, and academy leaders perceive the AR/SEL Advisory Period embedded within the school day at one large, comprehensive, public high school? I conducted semi-structured interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders (assistant principals, school-based leadership team members, department chairs, and academy leaders) and collected archival documents at the program, school, and district levels. Grounded theory was used to analyze interview and focus group data, and Stake (1995) informed the narrative development of the case study. Key themes include relationship building; connection to a community of care; creation of a clear mission and vision for the program; curriculum building and growth; as well as strengths and areas of growth for the program. Implications for my scholarly practice are to include the voices of all teachers and students at PHS to further improve the program. Future research directions include implementing the AR/SEL Advisory Period at other high schools, as well expanding to other grade levels throughout the district, state, and nation.