Capstone/Dissertation Title

Using high school students' reactions to adapt Responsive Classroom and Developmental Designs for Middle School for at-risk high school students





Degree Name



The developing brain of a typical teenager has an overly active prefrontal cortex, which pushes a proclivity towards risky behavior. This discordant brain development combined with factors such as substance abuse, poverty, low self-esteem, etc., results in a teen being at-risk for limited success in school and society. Social-emotional learning aims to combat failure by teaching the skills necessary for an effective life. Two successful social-emotional programs which boost the achievements of students are Responsive Classroom (RC) and Developmental Designs for Middle School (DDMS). However, these programs were created for K-8 students a program to continue the tenets of RC and DDMS beyond middle school does not exist. For this project, I administered a survey to 100 high school students to study how they react to RC and DDMS practices. After synthesizing their answers, I made recommendations for adapting RC and DDMS for an at-risk 9-12 learning environment.

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