Date of Award


Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Linda Spatig

Second Advisor

Jane McKee

Third Advisor

LeVene Olson

Fourth Advisor

Donald Washburn


While prior research provides evidence that school consolidation impacts student achievement, the economic efficiency at state and district levels, dropout rates, participation in extracurricular activities, curriculum offerings, and the length of bus rides, “little is known about what happens in consolidated schools to impact student learning,” (Blake, 2003, p. 21) and little attention has been given to studying students’ lived experiences of consolidation. This qualitative case study explored these issues by attempting to understand students’ transition to a consolidated high school, as well as their current experiences with and perceptions of consolidation in a rural community in West Virginia. The data collected included observations of and interviews with six students, along with reviews of pertinent student documents. Data collected also included interviews with seven teachers and one administrator who were identified by the students for inclusion in this study. The purpose of this case study was to add to the body of knowledge concerning the ways economically marginalized students, who are perceived as at risk of school failure, experienced and perceived school consolidation in a rural community. Through an analysis of the data, factors that enabled and/or constrained students’ success were identified. Three themes emerged: supportive relationships with principals, teachers, and others who had high expectations; expanded curricular opportunities; and participation in extracurricular activities.


Schools - Centralization - West Virginia.

High school students - West Virginia - Attitudes.