Date of Award



© 2016 Robert Lyons

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Ella Benson

Second Advisor

Peter Harrison

Third Advisor

Matthew Beyranevand


The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to examine the factors causing school refusal and in-turn diagnose a school-based intervention designed to retain students. This study specifically addressed the use of a teacher mentor intervention for school refusal students as a means of improving attendance, academics, social and emotional well being and improve their overall mindset about school. The focus group for this study was 15 general education sophomore students enrolled in a resiliency program at a large suburban Massachusetts high school. These students selected for the resiliency intervention program met the following criteria: a) all participants are sophomores; b) participants were absent 10% or more during their freshman year; c) participants were struggling or failing courses during their freshman year; and e) participants, once selected for the resiliency intervention program, agreed to participate. Two instrument tools were utilized to gain qualitative data for this study. A student questionnaire and survey allowed for data to be coded and placed into four themes. The four key themes emerged from student responses to the instrument tools: 1) examining the relationship between the teacher mentor and the student, 2) impact on student growth and academic improvement due to mentoring, 3) student satisfaction and overall positive experience with their mentor, and 4) as a result of mentoring received, school attendance and retention had become important. When paired with a teacher mentor, school refusal students experienced improved academics, better attendance and an overall improved attitude towards school.


Ed.D. Dissertation