Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Richard Bernato

Second Advisor

Anthony Annunziato


Demographics for all school districts in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York were disseminated and analyzed in order to better understand where the highest percentage of single-parent households were located, how school districts support parents and children of single-parent households and how they could better assist them. As an outcome of this analysis, needs were identified in order to assist school leaders in creating an in-school support program. Researching the problems, challenges, and obstacles children face while living in single-parent households were an aid in this study. A preventative, mental health approach, an aspect of public health, is needed in all aspects of school. A preventative and interactive perspective is useful in designing and sustaining systems that work for students, parents, staff, and the society (Comer & Gates, 2004). It is difficult for most people to understand how relationships, child development, teaching, and learning are interrelated (Comer & Emmons, 2006). Students do not simply fail in school because they are from a single-parent home. They fail, partially because schools are not responsive to the conditions and problems accompanying these personal socio-economic characteristics (Wehlage, Rutter, Smith, Lesko, & Fernandez, 1989). “Some families criticize school personnel for not understanding the plight of single parents, grandparents, foster parents, or other caregivers” (NEA Education Policy and Practice Department, 2008, p 2). It is important to place the children at the center of the education process. “Supporting teaching and learning requires addressing students’ social service needs, as well as their academic ones, and this broad-based support is essential to closing achievement gaps” (NEA Education Policy and Practice Department, 2008, p. 1). Responsiveness to the actual characteristics and educational needs of specific children and groups of children who are at risk is essential in designing effective programs (Wehlage et al., 1989).