Graduation Year


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science



Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Katherine Lewis, PhD

Second Reader

Zoee Bartholomew, EdD


As survival rates increase, more children with chronic health conditions are returning to K-12 classrooms after receiving medical treatments. Research has shown that many teachers believe that students with chronic health conditions should not have to worry about school while they are going through treatment (Irwin & Elam, 2011; Legislative Alliance for Students with Health Conditions, 2017). Research also suggests that many schools are violating the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 by withdrawing students from the district due to chronic absenteeism (Eaton, 2012; Wilkie, 2012). The purpose of this mixed methods study was to explore and examine the ways in which teachers and schools are supporting students with chronic health conditions, as well as the experiences of teachers who have witnessed inequities impacting these students. An initial survey was sent out to elementary school teachers from a local Bay Area school district, in order to examine the relationship between the beliefs of teachers and the level of support for students with chronic health conditions. Three hospital teachers were also interviewed from a Northern California hospital. Data was analyzed through an open coding process to identify themes and patterns. The findings from this study indicate that teachers benefit from shifting their perspectives from a parent centric way of thinking to student centric, in order to understand the benefits of continuing education during medical treatment. Findings also suggest the need for awareness about the normalizing aspects of education in a hospital setting. By identifying the obstacles that are preventing students with chronic health conditions from receiving the education they have a right to, teachers can better support these students during treatment and their re-entry back into the classroom.

IRB Number