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ERIC Number: ED552978
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 155
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3030-1476-5
A Phenomenological Perspective of Educating Students at the Matt Garcia Learning Center: Resiliency Development, Responsibility Development and Relationship Building Development Skills
Martinez, Robert Anthony
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Drexel University
The professional educators of Matt Garcia Learning Center (MGLC) have undertaken a monumental task of providing education to students considered to be significantly at-risk in a public school of choice. These educators are focusing on quelling the "negative success trajectory" prevalent for each of the students of MGLC. Understanding the perceptions of these educators regarding their ability to create positive changes in the lives of students at MGLC is an important component in further understanding the successes occurring at MGLC. The purpose of this study was to gain insight of the professional educators' perceptions of their efforts and strategies to teach their students to become resilient, to build personal responsibility, and to engage in positive interpersonal relationships. The following questions guided the current research study: 1) How do the professional educators of MGLC describe the strategies they use to teach students to become resilient, build personal responsibility, and engage in positive interpersonal relationship building skills? 2) What perceptions do the professional educators of MGLC have of the effectiveness of these approaches? 3) How do the professional educators of MGLC describe the lessons learned about these approaches, and how might those lessons inform future strategies to assist students at MGLC? A phenomenological research design was employed. Participants consisted of eight certificated educators who have provided direct service to the students of MGLC. Data were gathered in the form of semi-structured interviews, observation, and review of artifacts. The study included six major findings: 1) Passionate Belief in the Power of People, 2) Making Connections with Students to Build and Leverage Relationships Makes a Difference, 3) A High Level of Commitment is Required by All Stakeholders, 4) Communication is an Essential Element, 5) Consistency of Protocols and Practice Sets the Tone, and 6) It's a Process: To See Success You Only Need to Open Your Eyes. Results of the study included: 1) The successes that occur at MGLC every day may not be noticeable to many, but nevertheless, the significance of each small success, which is incumbent on the passionate power of people, builds further opportunities for student transformation; 2) The professional education staff of MGLC engages in extensive, intentional, purposeful strategies to connect and communicate with students; 3) The professional education staff at MGLC is committed to applying consistent, focused, actionable strategies to engage and support students in finding success; and 4) Developing, opening, and implementing MGLC to meet the needs of an evolving at-risk student population has been an extremely challenging endeavor, but one well worth the effort. The study conclusions were: 1) The professional educators at MGLC display intentional and purposeful actions with clear communicative focus attached to actionable behaviors with specific and targeted goals of initiating success for students; 2) The significance of recognizing each small success, which is incumbent on the passionate power of people, builds opportunities for student transformation and is described as an important characteristic of the MGLC; and 3) Creating MGLC has been a process that, though challenging, has been well worth the effort given the successes being realized by students and the evolution of the staff as a unified collegial unit. Recommendations for actionable improvements to MGLC, for the broader educational community contemplating initiating such a school, and for future research are made. [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: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A