Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Systems Improvement Science

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Noelle A. Paufler

Committee Member

Dr. Brandi Hinnant-Crawford

Committee Member

Dr. Edwin Bonney

Committee Member

Dr. Kris Frady


With the continual decline of high school graduation rates in South Carolina, there is a need for high schools to look at alternative pathways to graduation. Many of the current alternatives offered to students remove them from the high school setting or interactions with the student body. This study focused on an alternative pathway to graduation, Students Willing and Ready to Motivate to Graduate (SWARM), offered at the high school during the regular school day to students in jeopardy of not graduating. This inclusive approach eliminated transportation barriers and access issues. Students attended school regularly, but one to four classes per day were in the SWARM classroom. In this SWARM classroom, students used a web-based learning management system to complete self-paced courses needed for graduation. These courses were supervised by a certified teacher and had instructional support from content-based teachers. In addition, students in the SWARM program had the opportunity to participate in in-person classes, including career and technology courses, Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC), fine arts, performing arts, and athletics. An improvement science study was conducted to determine if students in the SWARM program could earn credits faster than in the traditional classroom to accumulate the credits needed to graduate on time. Stakeholders were surveyed to gauge support and opinions about the program and to guide future PDSA cycles. The study found that implementing the SWARM program helped students in jeopardy of not graduating, and they were able to earn the necessary credits to graduate on time, including several who graduated early in December. Survey results indicated stakeholders are pleased with the program and want it to continue.



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