Document Type

Master's Thesis

Graduation Year



Master of Science


Counseling Psychology

Program Director

Robin Gayle, PhD

First Reader

Carlos Molina, EdD, LMFT

Second Reader

Maryjane Landolina


This paper is a review of research regarding high school dropout rates and trends in the United States. Findings on the underlying reasons students are dropping out and analyzing this data can help implement widely accessible multi-level support systems in the schools and design sensible policies to aid students with emotional, and learning disabilities. While building these policies, it is essential to be mindful of our student populations' ethnicity and socioeconomic factors and their educational implications. This paper will address the leading causes for withdrawing before obtaining a diploma (early traumas, homeless, foster and juvenile justice youth, emotional and learning disabilities, cultural/ethnic biases, mental health and, discipline). Researchers have found targeted interventions proven to mitigate learning loss and lower the number of students being pushed or pulled out of their schools before graduation. “Understanding the factors that lead young people to leave school can have significant benefits for these young people and society as a whole” (Zaff et al., 2016, page. 1). The manual is built as a supplement to the literature review. Its purpose is to function as a reference for educators with tips, lessons, ideas and, resource’s for students that are at risk for an early dropout. There are four main sections including; interviews from experienced teachers, information on understanding cultural influences and, engaging and supporting students' families in the classroom.