Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.S. in Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Douglas Davis

Second Advisor

Jill Cabrera

Third Advisor

Angus Mungal

Relational Format



The applied research study aimed to improve high school readiness for eighth-grade students transitioning to ninth-grade in high-poverty schools. Middle school educators are struggling to prepare students for ninth-grade without the proper transition support programs. This applied research study's framework was based on improving student performance, preventing academic achievement loss, addressing social-emotional learning, and informing students of operational procedures to prepare them for the high school environment. An action plan was developed and implemented in three phases to address each element of concern intentionally. Phase one consisted of Saturday Academy tutoring to improve student performance in reading and math. Implementation of phase two consisted of a structured mentoring initiative to provide social-emotional support around needed areas while also extrinsically motivating eighth-grade students to attend school regularly. Due to COVID-19, phase three was not implemented. The mixed-methods applied research design utilized quantitative and qualitative data to support the program evaluation model. I sought to facilitate a collaborative effort to improve high school transition for eighth-grade students. Informal walk-through observations, student perception surveys, teacher focus groups, and student interviews were used in this study. According to the elements evaluated, the findings indicate Nurturing Experiences for Student Transition (NEST) improved high school readiness. The intended goals were met or exceeded, and the perception surveys added reliability to the methods used with the NEST Level Project.



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