Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Stephen Laws


Ninth-grade students are in danger of not succeeding more than any other grade level in high school. High school freshmen are at a higher risk of dropping out of high school than any populace of students. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of administrators and guidance counselors on the interventions/strategies utilized to achieve success of first-time ninth-grade students in five rural high schools located in southeastern North Carolina. Data-driven documentation assisted with methods that were in place with decreasing absenteeism and behavioral issues along with increasing course performance during the transitional phase in ninth grade. An analysis of qualitative response data followed an open coding process to identify themes from one-on-one interviews of administrators and guidance counselors from five rural high schools on the impact of ninth grade transition programs/strategies used on site. The data collected in the areas of absenteeism, behavior, and course performance assisted with determining the success of the ninth-grade students. The findings depicted that the interventions/strategies varied from high school to high school to best fit the needs of the ninth-grade populace. The interventions/strategies used positively impacted the matriculation rate from ninth grade on time and to ultimately increase the graduation rate in the district to meet or surpass the state-level data with students in the same cohort. The study contributes to positive outcomes to decrease the retention rate in ninth grade and the drop-out rates of the student populace served in the five rural high schools.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.