Date of Award

11-21-2008

Degree Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. John Holman - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Sheri Joseph

Third Advisor

Prof. Josh Russell

Abstract

This collection of stories is based on the author’s experiences as a middle school teacher at an alternative campus in south Texas, in a district whose population was largely comprised of Mexican-American and low-income families. The Eagle School is based on a program that existed in the 1990s to address the special needs of “bubble” students, children who were failing in elementary school because of factors such as poverty, neglect, and violence at home. Students were selected for the program based on recommendations from their counselors, with the hope that the small campus of twelve teachers would provide its 150 sixth, seventh, and eighth graders with a safe haven, allowing them to focusing on their studies. The ultimate goals of the program were to prevent students from dropping out of school and to engage them in interdisciplinary projects that would advance them academically, preparing them to return to their appropriate grade levels in high school. Ms. Russel, a character based on the author, recounts stories of her efforts to help students at the Eagle School, as well as stories of her own friendships, aspirations, and disappointments off campus. Each story represents a distinct moment during the six years that she teaches at the Eagle School, and each focuses on a specific student or group of students whose conflicts complicate her own.

Available for download on Saturday, November 21, 2099

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