Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2012


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Instructional Leadership Excellence (ILEAD)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Karen Levitt

Committee Member

Laura Crothers

Committee Member

Lisa Lopez Levers


Adolescent, At-Risk, Female, Urban


As thoughts of the future weigh heavily on many adolescents' minds, the at-risk urban adolescent female are at an especially critical point; every decision she makes on a daily basis has the potential to affect the rest of her life (Way, 1995). However, secondary school-based mentoring programs can provide the modality to intervene with at-risk urban adolescent females to increase the likelihood of success both while in high school and after high school graduation.

This study is a phenomonologically-oriented qualitative study that asks the question: What is the impact of participation in a secondary school-based mentoring program on the lives of urban females after high school graduation. The results illustrate the impact of participation in a secondary school-based mentoring program upon the lives of six urban females after graduation from high school. The primary theory that framed this study was Bronfenbrenner's (1979, 2004) bioecological model of human development. Data were obtained from the responses of the six participants to a guided individual interview. Two repeated themes emerged from the data. These themes were: 1) the relationships between the Pearl and others and 2) the continued impact of a secondary school-based mentoring program on the lives of urban females after high school graduation. These themes created the concepts that were used to report the results of the study. The following findings surfaced as elements of a mentoring program that impacted the lives of these six urban females after high school graduation: 1) the mentor in a secondary school-based mentoring program is critical, 2) schools should work cooperatively with parents/guardians throughout high school and college and work to profoundly support the urban female, 3) long term connections to the mentor and other members of the mentoring group help urban adolescent females achieve continued success, 4) the mentoring program should include multiple strategies for engaging urban adolescent females and providing these young women with the opportunities to develop essential skills for academic and social success in high school, college and work, and 5) mentored urban females who are linked by positive social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint activities create a community.

The outcomes of this study offer an insightful understanding of the impact of specific factors of participating in a secondary school-based mentoring program on the success of urban adolescent females. This understanding provides the Pittsburgh Public Schools and other school districts with information that can be utilized to develop and direct secondary school-based mentoring programs, specifically those for the at-risk, urban female.