Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Alejandro Garcia

Second Advisor

Dr. Federico R. Guerra

Third Advisor

Dr. Velma Menchaca


High school dropout rates have long been a problem for school districts, and various contributing factors have excavated the problem. Most of these students have been plagued by the inability to integrate into the mainstream of school life, due to socioeconomic standing, lack of parental support, and many other problems. This qualitative study examined how distance learning courses have the potential to increase high school graduation rates and attendance rates. The research perspective was conducted at an alternative high school where the primary goal is to ensure nontraditional students' academic and personal support needed to graduate from high school. A single instrumental case study was conducted at an alternative high school utilizing a sample of twelve nontraditional students that took distance learning courses which allowed the researcher to understand a particular phenomenon, dropout, and attendance. Individual interviews were conducted to explore student experiences with distance learning courses and how these courses played a part in their graduation attainment; focus group methods, the analysis of learning analytics reports, lesson plans, and progress reports were conducted to understand student experiences. The researcher analyzed the data by coding the participant’s answers. Eight themes emerged from the participants responses: Academic Acceleration, Flexible Scheduling, Academic Support, Safe Environment, Transportation, Socializing, and Teacher Instructional Pace. These themes data was consistent with previous literature that supports the success and demand of distance learning settings and the lower dropout rate for older students.


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