Document Type



Doctor of Education



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Kathleen Brown, Ph.D.


Basile, Carole

Shuls, James


Missing in Missouri is state policy defining student mobility or how to measure it consistently across all districts. High mobility disproportionately impacts schools with a high poverty rate which creates a need for policy centered on this topic. Evidence indicates that children who change to a new school after the start of the regular school term negatively impacts not only that child, but the school district, teachers and staff, as well as the current students. Typically, these children arrive two to three years behind grade level academically and have social concerns. In order to best serve these students, districts need to hire additional staff, provide transportation, curriculum and materials. Teachers become frustrated with new students arriving with little background information about their academic and social needs. Ongoing arrivals of new students creates a burden on the teacher, as well as current students, who have already established friends and classroom routines. Mobile students, usually forced to change schools not by choice, have to contend with course offerings that may not align with their previous school, attempt to fit in with classmates, adapt to new surroundings, as well as catch up on work already covered in the classroom. Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) collects enrollment data on each student in Missouri public schools. Codes are identified to categorize each child’s status of enrollment. DESE must create a policy defining student mobility and how to measure it consistently across school districts in Missouri using this data. Providing this support will allow districts to analyze the impact of student mobility. Creating an awareness of the negative impacts allows stakeholders at the district and school levels to work together and create district policy that addresses realistic and reasonable supports for student and staff in schools with high rates of mobile students.

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