Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (MAE)



First Advisor

Susan O'Connor

Second Advisor

Audrey Lensmire


The purpose of this action research study is to examine a non-traditional learning environment and student success from the perspectives of the students themselves. This study defines a non-traditional learning environment as a hope- inspired and relational environment with a person a\ized, and relevant curriculum. It is an environment where teachers model collaboration, restorative practices, and compassion through intentional culturally relevant instruction, strength-based assumptions, whole-sfudent relationships, confl ict resolution, and sfudent advocacy and empowerment. The study seeks to understand if typically unsuccessful students (also commonly referred to as at-risk students) can find success if the delivery of their education is adjusted and if there is a more intentional focus on social-emotional growth. On many occasions, educators assume what students desire or need, when educators should ask students instead. This action research study focused on student feedback, which can and should be used to guide future best practices for these sfudents.


SC 11.MAE.2016.Mareck.AR