Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Hamilton


This study illuminated the experiences and perceptions of high school counselors in low-performing schools. The study specifically explored the impact of the role of high school counselors on student engagement and outcomes (i.e., chronic absenteeism, dropout rate, and graduation and completion). A literature review revealed a need for research to probe the experiences and perceptions of high school counselors to determine how they regard their roles and discern if their assigned responsibilities impact school performance. Quantitative results revealed that the high school counselors in low-performing schools in Virginia prioritize student academic performance by advocating and developing strategies to change policies and practices, improving access to academic support services, evaluating the school counseling program to increase academic performance, and monitoring student academic performance. Furthermore, they regularly consult with parents and administrators in addition to collaborating with teachers to identify underperforming students. Nearly 97% of the participating high school counselors prioritize social/emotional counseling. Qualitative results revealed five recurring themes: life-ready, connectedness, data-driven decision-making, strengthening understanding, and access and availability.