Date of Award

3-26-2015

Document Type

Restricted Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Learning, Leadership, and Community

Department

Department of Educational Leadership, Learning, and Curriculum

Committee Chair

Kathleen C. McCabe

Committee Member

Christie L. Sweeney

Committee Member

Christine C. Rath

Abstract

This dissertation examines the perceptions and lived experiences of high school students who have completed Extended Learning Opportunities in New Hampshire. Extended Learning Opportunities are defined as learning that occurs outside of the traditional classroom. The New Hampshire Department of Education changed its Minimum Standards for Public School Approval in 2005, and since that time, students have been eligible to earn high school credit for internships, apprenticeships, independent studies, community service, private instruction, sports, and performing groups through demonstration of mastery of academic competencies. Since very little has been written from the students' points of view regarding Extended Learning Opportunities, this hermeneutic phenomenological research study explored the perceptions and lived experiences of the students themselves. Data was collected from interviews, field notes, and artifacts and the analysis resulted in four significant themes: Relationships, Academic Freedom, Sense of Accomplishment and Connections to Life After High School. These findings shed light on the transformative and personalized benefits of Extended Learning Opportunities.

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