Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD

Committee Chair

Powers, Deborah

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Ingle, W. Kyle

Committee Member

Ingle, W. Kyle

Committee Member

Tretter, Tom

Committee Member

Munoz, Marco

Author's Keywords

Montessori; agency; Erdkinder; student voice; reform


Although there is a significant body of research surrounding Montessori education, little research has sought to capture the voices of adolescents, specifically high school students in urban settings (Dr. Montessori’s third plane of development) learning through the Montessori Method. Problem: Legislators, policy writers, district and school-level leaders mandate and implement reforms with minimal to no adolescent input. Further, adolescents are not part of the reform implementation process or identifying desired outcomes of said reform initiatives. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine adolescent’s perspective of their urban high school Montessori education, and their role in helping to develop a high school Montessori program in an urban setting. Research Design: This case study recorded and examined the voices of 11high school students in an urban high school who completed high school Montessori schooling. Data in this research study consisted of semi-structured interviews documents. Responses were coded into themes and interpreted through the lens Dr. Montessori’s four planes of development, with particular attention to the third plane. Findings: Participants in this study understand key differences between the Montessori method and traditional schooling. However, the path to that understanding was the result of one-off experiences for some students and programmatic, structured experiences for all students. Further, findings suggest that student input varied through program vi implementation, but was a key factor in program growth. Research Implications: Results from this study may offer insight into the benefits and liabilities of seeking student input when designing high school reform, and more specifically, urban students, teachers, and administrators implementing adolescent Montessori programs. These results may be used to engage teachers, principals, and policy writers around reform practices and policies that benefit student experiences and outcomes. Research Questions 1.From the adolescent’s perspective, how does the high school Montessori experience lead toward independent learning versus the traditional school experience? 2.From the adolescent’s perspective, how well were the Montessori concepts of Erdkinder brought to reality in an urban setting? 3.In what ways were student Agency evident in developing the urban high school Montessori program?