Cieminski, Amie B.

Committee Member

Melloy, Kristine J.

Committee Member

Graefe, Amy K.

Committee Member

Farber, Matthew


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Leadership and Development: Higher Education and P-12 Education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


University of Northern Colorado

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Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



157 pages

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Born digital


Students living in poverty are noted to experience a variety of barriers, which include literacy gaps (Buckingham et al., 2013), lower reading achievement entering high school (Reardon et al., 2013), lower graduation rates (National Center for Education Statistics, 2016), higher incidences of learning disabilities and behavior problems (Morgan et al., 2009), and other negative psychological and educational outcomes that could affect academic achievement (Mistry et al., 2009). The aforementioned items have created barriers to learning and achievement while high school leadership across the United States have worked to support all students at school. Colorado high schools generally have used Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports to support students at varying levels of intensity both academically and behaviorally (CDE, n.d.b). The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore how two performing Colorado high schools with a significant percentage of impoverished students supported all students. For this study, Colorado high schools that met or exceeded the average Colorado Scholastic Aptitude Test (CO SAT) score for the 2017-2018 school year were considered performing. This two-site qualitative case study used purposive sampling, document review, semistructured interviews, qualitative coding, written memos, and constant comparative analysis to identify themes as to how two performing Colorado high schools with a significant percentage of impoverished students supported students. The findings from Mountain High School and Plains High School revealed that both high schools provided a variety of structural, academic, and supports that promoted a sense of belonging and safety. Additionally, the study revealed that Mountain High School and Plains High School provided targeted and individualized support to groups of students (e.g., English learners, students with disabilities, students identified as gifted and talented, and students who were struggling academically or emotionally).

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