Date of Award

Fall 9-15-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Admin

First Advisor

Dr. Paul Naso

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Spadorcia

Third Advisor

Dr. Kerry Clery


The purpose of this multiple composite case study was to develop descriptive accounts of the thoughts, beliefs, actions, and assessments of charter school leaders regarding their efforts towards students’ resilience-building. Survey results from 46 participants identified eight Massachusetts charter school leaders who prioritized resilience-building within their schools. Semi-structured interviews with eight participants inquired about their reasons and methods for resilience-building in their schools and the factors and conditions that inhibit and foster their efforts. The qualitative data analysis yielded five findings. Participants operated from two orientations: resilience empowers learners and cultivates self-directed learning; and resilience is needed to manage traumatic experiences in student’s lives. These two orientations became the basis for the two case studies. They explained empowerment in terms of students developing independence, problem-solving, using multiple attempts to complete difficult tasks, and utilizing strategies to overcome trauma. Participants reported that building resilience in their students requires programming that is culturally relevant, culturally supportive, and connected to students’ lives. According to these leaders, engaging school programs that give students a voice, demonstrate that academic work has real-world consequences, and enable students to have a positive impact on their community are essentials elements of building resilience. Participants stressed the importance of creating a welcoming, safe, and nurturing climate in their schools as a necessary part of resilience building. The findings indicate that school leaders need multi-faceted and intentional approaches to leadership that both empower students in their academic and personal lives and acknowledge the high impact trauma has on contemporary youth and their schooling.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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