Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Department or School/College

Phyllis J. Washington College of Education

Committee Chair

Patty Kero

Commitee Members

John Matt, Daniel Lee, William McCaw, Douglas Reisig


frontier education, Montana frontier schools, Montana rural schools, rural education


University of Montana


Frontier high schools in Montana have a degree of isolation that presents unique challenges setting them apart from their rural, and especially their urban, counterparts. Unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all approach hinders their voices being heard in professional development and policy decision making. This dissertation provides a profile of these high schools and their communities using four social determinants of health: education, access to health care, economics, and behavioral risk factors through mixed methods approach with descriptive statistics and high school principal survey responses. The results of this approach revealed frontier high schools have small class sizes and low teacher-student ratios, but they are challenged by a shortage of students, recruitment and retaining staff, and sources of funding through a limited economic base in the community. The remoteness also affected access to needed health care, especially student mental health care. On the other hand, frontier high school student achievement was demonstrated by attendance and graduation rates, along with extracurricular activity participation. Frontier students are deserving of equal representation whenever educational decisions are being made that affect their survival.



© Copyright 2020 Jacqueline May Gorshe