University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Dr. Michael Swack, Department of Economics
An Investigation Of Risk Factors And Prevention Methods Of High School Dropouts: A Case Study On Citizen Schools
According to the National Center on Education and the Economy, in 2017, only 83% of first-time, first-year high school students graduated. People who do not graduate from high school experience lower incomes. Since the 1900s, researchers have studied risk factors such as student demographics and family lifestyles that contribute to students dropping out of high school. Educators intervene in early education hoping to influence student’s academic experiences to successful prepare them for high school and potentially higher education. Additionally, whether different learning styles influence the effectiveness of student learning is also considered. Citizen Schools, a collection of afterschool programs throughout the United States, was established to cultivate an environment for academic success by offering students in middle school an opportunity to gain real-world experiences through hands-on-learning and mentorship. The goal of this research is to examine a Citizen School based in Boston to understand its influences on their students and the effectiveness of its program to provide “middle school students in urban communities with exposure to mentors and real world project-based learning that supports skill building in self-management, goal setting and future planning, and specific academic and career skills and knowledge” (Buckley, 2019). Data will be collected by hosting a focus-group of 6-8 current high school students that were participants of Citizen School and 6-10 current Citizen School teaching fellows. Results from this research will provide a basic understanding of the influences Citizen Schools have on their students and the positive and negative aspects of the program in relation to the literature pertaining to the small sample of participants. The results will be shared with Citizen Schools so they may better develop existing programs or create new ones. Future research can expand on this so programs can provide better academic opportunities to help students obtain a better quality of life.