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A Program Evaluation of the North East High School Student Assistance Program

Renne, William (2019) A Program Evaluation of the North East High School Student Assistance Program. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Students struggling with mental health issues have more discipline problems, higher rates of absenteeism, and are less likely to graduate high school (Nelson, Benner, Lane, & Smith, 2004). The Student Assistance Program (SAP) is the primary support service for students struggling with mental health issues at North East High School (NEHS). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the NEHS SAP, determine what impact the NEHS SAP has on reducing barriers to learning, and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the NEHS SAP team. This was accomplished through document collection and surveys.

One hundred and thirty-eight students were studied in a three-year historical analysis of the NEHS SAP. Additional participants of the study included 13 members of the NEHS SAP team, 18 SAP student participants, and 14 SAP parent/guardian participants. The NEHS SAP team completed a 48-item survey, SAP student participants completed a 16-item survey, and SAP parent/guardian participants completed a 17-item survey. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and coded using the Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program Performance Improvement Plan (Fertman et al., 2000b). Qualitative data, though minimal, were used to analyze the results from the open-ended questions in the student survey and the parent/guardian survey.

The results of this study indicate that the NEHS SAP has a negligible impact on reducing barriers to learning. GPA and attendance declined and disciplined worsened in 51.3% of the students who participated in SAP. A reason for this may be that the monitoring, tracking, and assessing of student outcomes was identified as a weakness of the NEHS SAP. Training for the SAP team and professional development for teachers about student mental health was identified as an area of weakness as well. In contrast, parent participation was identified as a strength of the NEHS SAP. This has important implications because strong parent participation can lead to improvements in other SAP components (Fertman et al., 2000b). Furthermore, 66% of students and 100% of parents/guardians said they would recommend SAP as a place to get help.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Renne, Williamwrenne@nesd1.orgwlr10
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLongo, R.
Committee MemberFertman,
Committee MemberMcClard,
Date: 30 July 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 April 2019
Approval Date: 30 July 2019
Submission Date: 21 June 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 142
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Student mental health, mental health and high school students, school based mental health supports, mental health and student achievement, student assistance program.
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2019 14:46
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2019 14:46


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