Theses and Dissertations


Labat, Myron

Committee Member

McMullan, Leigh Ann

Committee Member

Tharp, Paula

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Immediate Worldwide Access

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Education (P-12 Leadership)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Teacher Education and Leadership


This capstone project addresses the crucial task of equipping students from rural and poverty-stricken school districts for success beyond high school. While conventional markers of academic achievement often center around standardized testing, this study takes a wider perspective, emphasizing comprehensive approaches to education. By conducting a quantitative analysis that includes surveys of staff and faculty, this research explores the effectiveness of different strategies aimed at nurturing college and career readiness among students in these districts. The findings demonstrate a powerful narrative: educators can greatly improve graduation rates and post-graduation success by going beyond traditional test preparation methods. Key strategies include developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, encouraging collaboration, providing technology access and digital literacy training, integrating work-based learning opportunities, offering targeted support for at-risk students, ensuring access to rigorous coursework, and exposing students to various career paths. This study highlights the potential for a comprehensive approach to education, empowering students with the skills and resources needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world. By embracing these strategies, educators can pave the way for a more equitable and prosperous future, particularly in marginalized communities facing educational disparities