Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Specialist in Education (Ed.S.)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Leon Dappen


The purpose of this study was to obtain perceptions from school staff of the eighth to ninth grade transitional issues that contribute to an increase in academic failures during the ninth grade year. Areas of focus included: teacher/school academic and behavioral expectations, teacher perceptions of concerns, programming and curriculum at each school, student academic preparedness, student social/emotional capabilities, student academic success, student attendance, and parental involvement. Staff members from the middle (eighth grade) and high school (ninth grade) levels were gathered together to discuss transitional issues and develop an action plan to improve transitional challenges in the Glenwood Schools of Glenwood, Iowa. Separate focus groups were held for each grade level and then the groups were combined to develop the action plan. The discussion from the group illustrated similar themes as found research from around the nation: philosophical differences between middle and high school instructors, uncertainty on the student's part, at-risk students "falling through the cracks" once in high school, and a lack of actions taken to prepare students for the change. The result of the discussion was the creation of a comprehensive action plan that reinforced existing programs and generated new proposals to address the transitional concerns. The core of these efforts was offering more information to the students prior to the start of school and providing them with a support network for their first crucial years of high school.


An Educational Specialist Field Project Presented to the Department of Educational Administration and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree Educational Specialist University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Russell E. Finken December, 2006