Hope transcends: creating ladders to opportunity for at-risk students



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The specific purpose of this study was to elevate the previous research on the construct of hope to identify the factors and attributes that at-risk students who are academically and socially successful perceive contributed to their hope. This work was built up the Hope Theory by C.R. Snyder et.al (2002). Utilizing a purposive sample, potential participants were identified at an urban middle school campus applying archival data which included standardized assessment, grade reports, school attendance records and student discipline reports. Potential participants (fifteen to twenty) who were identified as demonstrating behavioral and academic success according to archival data were invited to take a Snyder’s Children Hope scale questionnaire. Next, the researcher conducted individual interviews with the ten potential participants who scored highest on the Snyder Hope Scale questionnaire. Ultimately, six participants were selected. The researcher completed a qualitative study method utilizing the portraiture methodology. The researcher, through interviews, focus groups and observations examined family structure, guardianship and parenting, identity, pathways, and school experiences to identity saturated themes. Data analysis revealed a framework that schools can utilize to build hope in at-risk students by focusing on the key areas of positive adult relationships, social recognition, future orientation, social adaptation and service to others.