Date of Graduation

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College/School

School of Education

Department/Program

Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dan McPherson

Second Advisor

Doreen Jones

Third Advisor

Christopher Thomas

Abstract

p>The Catholic Church has long emphasized an “option for the poor” and relied heavily on its schools to assist in providing the education necessary to help families escape poverty (Benson, Yeager, Guerra & Manno, 1986; Bryk, Lee, & Holland, 1993; Buetow, 1988; Convey, 1992; Greeley, 1982; Neal, 1997; United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, 1998; York, 1996). Catholic schools in the United States are closing at a steady rate from a lack of funding, and this has created an ongoing problem for the outreach efforts of the Church and the low-income families with the greatest need (Brinig & Garnett, 2014; United States Department of Education, US DOE, 2008). In addition, families living in poverty have difficulty meeting the financial requirements and tuition demands of the schools that remain after taking care of basic needs for survival (Hudley, 2013; Rumberger, 2013). The Society of Jesus created Cristo Rey schools to provide one solution to this crisis facing the poor.

Of paramount importance to low-income students seeking success in their educational and professional endeavors are non-cognitive skills such as grit and emotional-social intelligence (Bar-On, 2006; Bar-On & Parker, 2000; Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007; Duckworth & Quinn, 2009; Gardner, 1983; Goleman, 1995; Salovey & Mayer, 1990; Tough, 2012). With regards to the aforementioned non-cognitive abilities and traits, the purpose of this study was threefold. First, it measured perceptions of grade 11 and 12 students from three Cristo Rey schools regarding their non-cognitive skills of grit and emotional-social intelligence (intrapersonal, interpersonal, stress management, and adaptability). Secondly, it explored the extent to which these skills are perceived to be utilized and enhanced through their participation in the Cristo Rey Network’s (CRN) Corporate Work-Study Program (CWSP). Finally, it identified what further skills and training the CRN students identified as necessary to ensure their success in the workplace.

The results indicated the students had a mean level of grit (M = 3.5) indicating responses on the Likert-style scale directly between “Somewhat like me” and “Mostly like me.” For the ESI subscales, students recorded a mean score for intrapersonal (M = 13.47) approximating the choice “Just a little true of me,” and mean scores for interpersonal (M = 19.24) that placed most student responses for this subscale between the values “Pretty much true of me” and “Very much true of me,” and mean scores for stress management (M = 17.22) and adaptability (M = 16.05) that were above the middle point ESI subscale value of 15 and just below the choice “Pretty much true of me.”

The three categories marked by the students with the highest frequency as “developed in the CWSP” were: social responsibility, interpersonal relationships, and flexibility. The categories least often chosen by the students included: self-awareness, self-regard, assertiveness, independence, empathy, and impulse control.

Finally the students most often responded they would like training in the intrapersonal and interpersonal domains, with communication, social, and computer skills as the most frequently requested skill sets. The participants indicated they would like additional training, workshops, classes, tutorials, and practice for what they are facing in the workplace in additional to training they already receive.

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