Laura Martin

Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education


Rios, Hector


Educational change; Urban high schools; High school students--Counseling of


Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


A major component of high school reform has been to support small, more personalized school structures, along with other complimentary strategies that enhance teaching and learning as being more likely to produce beneficial results. The major purpose of the small schools movement is to convert failing, comprehensive high schools, into smaller, personalized settings in order to increase positive school relationships, student engagement, and higher student achievement. The addition of advisory programs in high schools is at the heart of small schools' efforts to develop more personalization within small schools; especially those that contain small learning communities. Advisory programs are intended to ensure that each student is well known by a teacher and to help each student succeed academically and socially. Although advisory programs are widespread, they have been difficult to implement for a variety of reasons. Part of understanding the problem is to clarify the conditions and challenges educators encounter when planning to implement an advisory program. This study researches components of an advisory program in an urban high school. The findings contribute to decisions about program planning, implementation, continuation, expansion, modification, or termination. Through program evaluation, this study identifies driving forces, resisting factors, and barriers of advisory program implementation, as well as how the processes, structures, and people influence the initiation and implementation process. This study attempts to address the experiences of the adult participants as the program is being planned, and understanding roles in any school reform process that individuals face, when defining and planning for change in an organization. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods are used in the study, and include data such as interviews, observations, field notes, and surveys.