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Structured sense of community on academics and graduation: youth on their own in Tucson

Hurst, Rebecca Lyn (2022) Structured sense of community on academics and graduation: youth on their own in Tucson. Doctoral thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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The purpose of the study was to determine if a constructed sense of community would impact graduation rates or continuous enrollment and, if so, to what extent. Identity development for school-age adolescents extends beyond personal discovery. It includes how one’s identity is reflected in the community, how roles within a community are formed, and all the social transactions that reinforce or dispel one’s view of themselves. A sense of community is restricted to geography. It is any group that shares a focus and has a recognizable shared identity. The concept of sense of community is built on four categories: Belonging, Identity, Support, and Stability. As students develop individually, they also cultivate relationships within and among communities. Homeless or home insecurity is a disruption to the essential hierarchy of needs and can result in deficiencies in identity development. The study focused on students who experienced homelessness or housing insecurity during the 2021 school year and participated in Youth on their Own. Youth on their Own is a constructed micro-community that provides support for students who qualify. The quantitative study used the Sense of Community Index II to survey students to compare graduation status to community index scores. Index questions were grouped into Reinforcement of Needs, Membership, Influence, and Shared Emotional Connection. Collected scores were analyzed for a median split and ranked as high sense of community or low sense of community. The results of the study failed to show a statistically significant connection between graduation or continuous enrollment and a high sense of community index score. Analysis revealed a positive trend for Reinforcement of Needs and Graduated. Graduated students scored higher in all four categories overall, but only Reinforcement of Needs showed a positive association. Regression analysis indicated a significance between this Reinforcement of Needs and Graduated, but not between graduation status and overall community scores. A number of outliers were noted for some survey prompts which may reveal that the prompts themselves were ill-fitted for this type of multi-site community with protocols that prevent student exposure to the identity of other members. Further research in this area is needed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: community; graduation; homeless; identity; micro-community; SOC; Tucson, Arizona
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Education > Educational Leadership
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2023 17:38
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2023 17:38
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5999

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