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A resilience -promoting dynamic learning community: A case study of a southern New England high school

Michael E Marrapodi, Johnson & Wales University


A preponderance of educational research targets at-risk student populations by focusing on factors that contribute to student's failure. Emerging from this research, resilience theory is drawing increased attention. Resilience theory posits that resilience is a capacity that allows a person, group or community to prevent and overcome the damaging effects of adversity. The purpose of this research was to identify the ways schools support the at-risk student, calling forth the resilience already present in his or her life and to and to identify ways a school helps at-risk students to be successful in school. Applying constructs from resilience and learning organization theories, two primary research questions sought to locate the sources of resilience promotion and to determine the degree to which each might contribute to a better understanding of the school's role in promoting resilience as a dynamic learning community. Field study data were collected from interviews of students and parents and triangulated with school record documentation and extant literature in a single case-study. Converging themes emerged from quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data. The findings link the emergent themes and the supporting evidence. Themes related to resilience promotion include nurturing, visibility, risk-taking, influence and life skills. Themes related to dynamic learning communities included core, vision, learning, reflection and integration. The findings indicated that resilience promotion must be (1) deliberate and intentional; (2) the product of ongoing discussion among school staff, parents and students; (3) coordinated by school leadership; (4) supported by faculty in-service and training; (5) reflected in school policy. To become dynamic learning communities, the findings suggest that schools must (1) examine core values, assumptions, practices and beliefs; (2) craft a vision for the future; (3) provide cutting edge resources; and (4) provide time for reflection.

Subject Area

Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Marrapodi, Michael E, "A resilience -promoting dynamic learning community: A case study of a southern New England high school" (2001). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3017530.