Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Gary Hartzell

Second Advisor

Dr. Laura Schulte

Third Advisor

Dr. Joe Davis

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Marilyn Grady


This study concentrated on the self-esteem of at-risk middle school students in a mid-west city involved in an alternative school Mentorship Program. This study examined two aspects of a structured mentorship program for at-risk youth attending an alternative middle school. The first purpose of the study was to evaluate the possible effect of the mentorship program on the self-esteem of the student, while the second purpose was to examine the perceptions of the program's participants. The first method was examined utilizing a quasi-experimental, design and the second employed a qualitative methodology. The Mentorship Program had 16 planned sessions to engage the students and the mentors in an examination of self. The sessions also allowed the students to explore the expectations and social skills necessary for work and school. Interviews of students and mentors were conducted prior to the relationship with follow-up evaluations during and after the planned mentoring sessions. A follow-up interview was conducted with the mentors and the program facilitator upon completion of the program to garner their perceptions of the effectiveness of the program. Student self-esteem was assessed prior to and after involvement in the Mentorship Program utilizing The Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale. A staff member completed the Teacher's Report Form and rated the behavior and attitude of students involved in a mentoring relationship. Student attendance, behavioral referrals, and number of days suspended were also tabulated. Students and mentors were encouraged to meet informally between the planned sessions to solidify their relationship. Originally, 10 students were matched with mentoring adults and 11 students were members of the control group. Only three of the mentors followed the established protocol, thus bringing the statistical sample to three. There was no significant difference between the self-esteem scores the students involved in the Mentorship Program and the students who were not involved in the program. There was no significant difference in the attendance rate, the number of referrals, nor the number of days suspended between groups. There was also no significant difference in teachers' perceptions of students' behaviors at the conclusion of the program. Although no statistical significance was found, the data provided positive information that needed further examination. The perceptions of the mentors and the facilitator provided positive feedback that will assist the alternative school staff's future implementation of the program.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Education. Copyright 2000 Lisa Marie Sterba.

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