Beating the Odds: A Multi-Site Case Study of College Preparation in Rural, Western New York

Open Access
Griffith, Kelly
Graduate Program:
Educational Theory and Policy
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
February 16, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Mindy L. Kornhaber, Dissertation Advisor
  • Mindy L. Kornhaber, Committee Chair
  • Dana Mitra, Committee Member
  • Erica Frankenberg, Committee Member
  • Diane McLaughlin, Outside Member
  • college preparation
  • college readiness
  • college access
  • qualitative research
  • rural schools
  • education policy
  • education reform
This study focused on how educators in rural, western New York high schools make sense of the national push to prepare all students for college and how these educators navigate challenges to offer opportunities for college preparation for rural students. As part of a multi-site case study, interviews were conducted with educators in three high schools located in the same county. Educators challenge a one-size fits all approach. At the same time, they are beating the odds to provide a wide range of college preparatory opportunities. These opportunities are enhanced by partnerships with institutions of higher education, instructional practices that promote key cognitive skills development, cross-district relationships facilitated by Boards of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES), and strong relationships with students.