The exploratory study of Jefferson County Public Schools' freshman academies of Louisville model on student promotion, attendance, and sense of belonging.
Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation
Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development
Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD
Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)
Freshman academy; small learning community; student promotion; student attendance; student sense of belonging; academies of Louisville
The middle school years are a pivotal time in a student’s life in which they deal with a range of issues, one of which is high school transition (Osler & Walden, 2012). McCallumore and Sparapani (2010) describe ninth grade as the critical year for completing high school. To facilitate the transition from middle to high school, freshman academies, a smaller learning community, seek to increase student promotion from ninth to tenth-grade, attendance, and sense of belonging through a myriad of interventions (Jefferson County Public Schools, 2018). There is a need to compare the student outcomes who attend traditional schools that do not use any type of freshman academy with the student outcomes of schools that do have a freshman academy model to support a successful transition from middle school to high school (Osler & Walden, 2012). The purpose of this study was to examine if there are differences in student promotion from ninth to tenth grade, attendance, and reported sense of belonging between lunch (socio-economic) status, gender, and race within the 11 Freshman Academies of Louisville over school years 2015-16 to 2018-19. Jefferson County Public Schools’ (JCPS) Freshman Academies of Louisville were implemented in 11 high schools in the 2017-18 school year. This one-group time-series design of JCPS’ Freshman Academies of Louisville model on student promotion, attendance, and sense of belonging was examined through a quantitative methodological approach. An analysis of the data was conducted through a mixed-design ANOVA to examine whether there are average score differences across the academic years of 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 (within: over time) for students’ promotion, attendance, and reported sense of belonging across lunch (socio-economic) status, gender, and race (between: levels). Most notably, promotion rates were higher once JCPS’ Freshman Academies of Louisville were implemented across 11 high schools in the 2017-18 school year. Overall, the findings of this study suggested there is no clear trend in scores across JCPS’ Freshman Academies of Louisville. The key outcomes of student promotion, attendance, and sense of belonging vary by school and more research is needed to fully understand how school-level factors may contribute to these key outcomes. To more fully understand how students are engaging and learning within JCPS’ Freshman Academies of Louisville, academies need to self-assess and adjust their work with Appendix A outlining JCPS’ Freshman Academies of Louisville expectations and performance descriptors based on the 10 National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC) National Standards of Practice (NSOP). Future research should include a five to ten-year longitudinal study on freshman academies to address the Implementation Dip and Flywheel Effect. This study should include freshman academies outside of JCPS in other KY counties or states to provide more research of the core features and objectives of freshman academies not presented within JCPS. It would be beneficial for a qualitative approach to be done to explore the perceptions of students, teachers, and administration on freshman academies.
Thomas, Andrew Lewis, "The exploratory study of Jefferson County Public Schools' freshman academies of Louisville model on student promotion, attendance, and sense of belonging." (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 3860.