Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership and Curriculum

First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Michael Verdi


Many “at risk” students are successful in middle school and high school, and are college bound, despite the fact that they face numerous factors that place them at-risk for academic failure or for dropping out of school. One of the key factors that makes these students unique and academically successful is resiliency. Resiliency is identified as the ability to recover or adjust easily from misfortune or change. Resiliency might also be defined as an individual’s ability to effectively cope with challenges in a stressful environment. However, this definition does not account for those who are, at one point, not able to effectively cope with challenges, but who are able to reverse this cycle over time. This study sought to better understand the nature by which Hispanic students who were previously failing academically were able to reverse that cycle and become academically successful. For the purpose of this study, resiliency is defined as a process in which individuals overcome hardship and adversity to create lives that are meaningful and successful.

What do Hispanic students do that makes them resilient and academically successful after experiencing academic failure? This research study addresses how students move from school related risk to academic resiliency. Many studies explore the qualities of resilient traits, but do not examine how resilient characteristics develop over time and through the interplay of one’s social and personal experiences. Often times, it is assumed that academically successful students have always been resilient, but in many instances, this might not be the case.

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