Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Hasazi, Susan


The purpose of this qualitative research, using narrative inquiry, was to describe, illuminate, and analyze the perspectives of a unique population - six high performing adolescents - who reflected on their educational experiences in Vermont. With input from their parent/guardians, their educators and the students themselves, this study was intended to shine a light on the experience of each of these participants. “The central idea of narrative analysis is that stories and narratives offer translucent windows into cultural and social meanings” (Patton, 2002, p. 116). This study is framed in their first-person voices to reveal the perspectives of students, parents, and teachers related to the education that these talented learners encountered in Vermont. As the starting point, my research questions related to perceptions of the students‟ educational experience and those factors leading to success as well as those which inhibited their learning. To provide an understanding of their educational experiences, I focused on first-person narratives from students, their parents, and an educator the students nominated as having made a significant positive contribution to their education. Next, I present a collective case study including the perspectives of the students, family members and teachers illuminating the essential elements of each group as culled from their descriptions. Drawing upon these descriptions, I describe the successes and challenges from the perspective of the student, family, and teachers. Findings suggest these participants hold stories similar to one another. Students, parents, and educators related experiences that resonated with one another in their commonalities. Generally, the findings point to the importance of parents, teachers, and opportunities to learn with academic and artistic peers as being significant. These high performing students also valued independent learning experiences, flexible scheduling, and higher level reading experiences. Using their first-person accounts as the basis of this study, I conclude with a discussion of the implications of my findings and recommendations for the education community involved with high performing students.