Date of Award

Fall 10-24-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Brandy A. Kamm, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Janice Powell, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Barbara Calabro, Ph.D.


With a focus on teachers’ efficacy and its effect on their perceptions of at-risk students, this qualitative case study examined the perceptions of teachers toward at-risk students, following a school’s 3-year implementation of an initiative that was geared toward helping educators improve teaching efficacy. The effects of professional development on improving the relationships with at-risk students and the influence on middle school educators’ perceptions and efficacy were explored. Data was gathered by conducting 20 interviews with the participants; including classroom teachers, an administrator, and a guidance counselor, regarding teachers’ perceptions of the at-risk students, following a schoolwide initiative. Six themes were found when the codes were analyzed and grouped within and across interviews. The themes included Awareness, Relationships, Impact, Teacher Efficacy, Teacher Perception, and Take 5. The majority of the teacher participants mentioned that the school’s initiative increased their awareness of their perceptions. The findings of this study suggested that districts seeking change should consider providing educators with concrete strategies and consistent reminders of the importance of forming healthy relationships of mutual respect with all students. Professional development should be provided for the interaction with at-risk students and effective strategies should be designed to improve teachers’ perspectives that will impact the success of all students.

Included in

Education Commons