Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Karen Watt

Second Advisor

Dr. Hilda Silva

Third Advisor

Dr. Marie Simonsson


The purpose of this study was to examine the shared experiences of formally identified gifted Mexican American students that decided to drop out of high school in the south Texas region. The researcher utilized a phenomenological collective case study approach that investigated the influences that led gifted learners to drop out of high school via a series of semi-structured interviews that collected and analyzed the shared narrative data (Creswell, 2013; Degand, 2015; Seidman, 2014). Prevailing studies have found that Mexican American gifted learners are more likely to live in economically depressed communities, more likely to suffer from linguistic and cultural barriers, and less likely to graduate from high school as compared to all other ethnicities (Card & Giuliano, 2016; Ortiz, Valerio, & Lopez, 2016; Román, 2015). According to Van Tassel-Baska (2018), gifted Mexican American students are more likely to withdraw from high school and drop out due to socioeconomic, relationship, and negative self-perception factors than their peer groups. School leaders that cultivate intervention and support programs purposely designed for gifted Mexican American students are more likely to have these students graduate high school (Vega & Moore, 2018).

The study explored the needs for school district to cultivate advanced, individualized, and transdisciplinary curriculum models and include culturally relevant practices that serve to engage with gifted Mexican American students at risk of dropping out of high school. Further, the research advocated for schools to implement dropout prevention programs that are specifically targeted to the unique plights of gifted Mexican American learners.


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