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Title page for ETD etd-07212011-135524

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Tobin, Kerri Jennifer
URN etd-07212011-135524
Title Identifying Best Practices for Homeless Students
Degree PhD
Department Leadership and Policy Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Joseph Murphy Committee Chair
Marybeth Shinn Committee Member
Mimi Engel Committee Member
Thomas Smith Committee Member
  • homelessness
  • student achievement
  • poverty
  • at-risk students
Date of Defense 2011-06-30
Availability unrestricted
Homeless elementary school students are a vulnerable population. My mixed-methods study looks closely at one large urban district to determine how its homeless students fare academically and how their schools strive to meet their multiplicity of needs. My quantitative analysis shows that homeless students do not perform notably worse than low SES students who have housing. No school-level factors are found to predict homeless student achievement, and differences in average homeless students scores across schools are very small. In qualitative interviews and surveys with principals, teachers, and guidance counselors, I find that most are primarily concerned with logistical issues and providing emotional support, rather than designing specific academic interventions for homeless students. Although the strategies interviewees described mirror the literature closely, I did not find that schools whose homeless students performed above district averages employed different strategies than those below. Most strategies described as supporting homeless students are used for struggling housed students as well. I offer implications of my findings for research, policy, and practice.
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