The Impact of Dayton, Ohio's Dropout Prevention And Recovery High Schools On At-Risk Youth: A Quantitative Study

Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (EdD)

Committee Chair

Niccole Hyatt

Committee Member

Sherry Abernathy

Committee Member

Donis Toler


This quantitative, causal-comparative, ex post facto study examined the effectiveness of alternative schools in the United States, with a geographic focus on Dayton, Ohio. Dayton schools were chosen as representative of nationwide issues faced by alternative schools, also referred to as Dropout Recovery Schools (DORPs) or last chance schools, which primarily serve students classified as at-risk. These DORPs function as public community schools, typically operate independently of local school districts, and have accountability metrics measured through an alternative state report card, and typically serve students at risk of dropping out of high school. Reasons being deemed as at-risk for dropping out include academic detachment, lack of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, poor attendance patterns, economic issues, inadequate student-teacher relationships, lack of hope, and inequitable education offerings. Therefore, this study briefly explored the history and factors leading to necessary education reforms and the development of nontraditional public schools. It examined whether DORPs were viable for the at-risk students they service and compares academic performance and graduation metrics against the local school district in which the DORPs are located. Ex post facto data were used from the Ohio Department of Education, covering achievement, enrollment, school district income levels, and student poverty levels. These data were analyzed to determine whether or not Dayton's five DORPs positively or negatively impact at-risk youth. The analysis yielded several insights relevant to those working to level the educational playing field for at-risk students considering nontraditional education in Dayton, Ohio, and similar urban cities.