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ERIC Number: ED519356
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 180
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1241-5121-2
HEART (Helping Everyone Aim for the Right Target): The Lived Experiences of a Freshmen Transition Program
Montgomery, Glade Talbert
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Purdue University
The purpose of this mixed methods study was to investigate a freshmen transition program for at-risk students at a large urban high school. The program is called HEART, which is an acronym for Helping Everyone Aim for the Right Target. This research consisted of both quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative portion included a comparison of grades and credits earned after the freshmen year for the HEART students versus a comparison group. The larger portion of the research focused on a qualitative study that delved into the actual lived experiences of the students and teachers. The theoretical framework for the qualitative portion was phenomenology. Data were collected by conducting interviews with four teachers and nine students who participated in the HEART program. Those interviews were tape recorded and transcribed before the item analysis was performed. Phenomenology was used to focus on the lived experiences of the participants. The primary purpose of this study was to determine what programmatic fundamentals of the HEART transition program were critical for the successful transition of at-risk students into high school. Specifically, this study sought to find what essentials of the HEART program had an affect on academic achievement while helping students remain in school and work towards eventual graduation. As a result of the study, five themes emerged as the central traits which aided the students' transition into high school. Those five themes were: connection to school, relationships, life-skills, high expectations, and teachers' passion for working with at-risk students. These common themes were derived from the overall experiences of the total group of teachers and students. While there do exist some commonalities among the five themes, the overall experience of the participants affirmed that transition programs for at-risk students must provide a sense of belonging for the students as those children lack confidence in academic and school experiences. Furthermore, the teachers involved in transition programs must possess the ability to build strong relationships with their students while maintaining high expectations. And finally, life-skills should be an essential component of transition programs for at-risk students. This study has implications for schools who are presently implementing a freshmen transition program, or for school districts investigating the possibility of such a curriculum. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A