Date of Award


Degree Type



Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Schultheiss, Donna

Subject Headings

Student mobility -- United States, Education, Elementary -- United States, Student mobility -- Ohio -- Cleveland, Transfer students -- Ohio -- Cleveland, Education, Elementary -- Ohio -- Cleveland, mobilty, transient students, changing schools


Student mobility - students changing schools for reasons other than being promoted to the next school level - is often correlated with negative academic, social and emotional consequences (Sanderson, 2004). Reporting transient students' voices and their experiences in the early grades is crucial to providing educators and other school personnel with highly valuable qualitative data of the struggles and coping strategies of these students that they can then use to craft prevention and intervention strategies. This study describes the experiences of highly mobile, urban elementary school students and provides educational professionals with an in-depth view of mobile students' experiences. Using a phenomenological approach, fourth and fifth grade highly mobile students (students that have changed schools at least three times) were interviewed (n=15). Analyzing interview data involved searching for themes from students' responses. Analysis revealed an emphasis on the following domains: facilitating factors, complicating factors, academic factors and needs/suggestions.Participants reported that school personnel, family members, friends and peers provided assistance measures during their transitions. Several participants mentioned that coping strategies and seeing the benefits of a school change proved to be helpful during transitions. Participants reported that challenges often included anxiety about school changes, bullying, leaving friends and others behind, and obstacles in their home environment. Participants mentioned challenges related to academic life at school including attendance and differences in curriculum and grades between schools attended. Participants revealed several ways that they would assist mobile students if they were given the chance (as a principal, teacher, student, etc.) Students mentioned helping them to feel safe and protected, giving encouraging and supportive advice and helping them make connections at their new school

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