Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Francisco Guajardo

Second Advisor

Dr. Miguel De Los Santos

Third Advisor

Dr. Velma Menchaca


The purpose of this study was to explore the interactions between elementary school students and school personnel, family members, and community members to identify factors that contributed to South Texas Mexican descent students dropping out of school. A second purpose was to gain a deeper understanding of Mexican descent former high school dropouts’ middle childhood life experiences. A qualitative methodology was utilized for this study. A three-interview series structure was utilized in conducting three one-on-one semi-structured interviews of six South Texas Mexican descent study participants. The findings of the study indicate that student discipline procedures in South Texas schools attended by the study participants relied on exclusionary discipline procedures such as school suspension. Such procedures impeded the academic progress of at least two study participants leading to them dropping out of school. Four of the study participants were retained in grade at least once while in elementary school leading to three participants dropping out of school. Student engagement in extracurricular activities and identification with school were found to be factors that contributed to academic success and continued school attendance. School disengagement led to several of the study participants dropping out of school. Several of this study participants’ academic performance was positively influenced by at least one adult in their lives. Three of the participants reported supportive teacher relationships. Findings also indicated that parental involvement was a positive contributor to the participants’ academic success. Findings also indicated that optimism about the future was a contributor to three participants’ academic success. Findings were consistent with previous researcher conducted on student dropouts.


Copyright 2011 Lazaro Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American