Thesis Title

Resiliency in Rural Northern California County Community and Continuation School Graduates: Experiences and Characteristics of Resiliency Among Successful Graduates

Graduation Date

Spring 2003

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


This exploratory study examined experiences and characteristics of resiliency in five graduates from a Community School and Continuation High School in a rural County in Northern California. The study identified (a) at-risk factors and behaviors associated with alternative school placement, (b) developmental assets or “protective factors” (Benard, 1997) acquired since initial placement in an alternative school, and (c) what or who created the “conditions of empowerment” (Benard, 1997) enabling resiliency in the graduate.

Methodology: The sample consisted of one male and four female graduates. The 40 Developmental Assets identified by Search Institute as building blocks of healthy, caring, and responsible adults (Search Institute, 1997), provided source information for interview questions

(see Appendix A for descriptions).

Three face-to-face and two telephonic tape-recorded interviews were conducted and transcribed for coding and analysis.

Conclusion: Marijuana use, fighting, habitual truancy, and the general inability to refrain from at-risk behavior were the primary cause for removal from the samples’ original schools. All sample members are now employed or attending school, and each had acquired the following developmental assets: (1) social competencies, (2) positive values, and (3) positive identity. The sample attributed their general sense of well being to teachers and staff in school, and a caring school climate to the exclusion of most other developmental assets investigated.

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