Counselors’ Perceptions of an Environmental Education Center: A Case Study in an Urban North Texas School District


Bob A. Gorman

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Spring 2020


The Texas state curriculum requires field investigations in all science classes. Theresearcher attempted to explore and add to the research base of information about the value anduse of field investigations in science and environmental education. The purpose of thisqualitative case study was to examine counselors' perceptions of the impact of outdoor fieldinvestigations on 5th-grade students' academic achievement, increased student awareness,understanding, and appreciation of the natural world. Creswell (2005) explained purposefulsampling as the identification of individuals who can provide purposeful input. Ten elementarycounselors were purposefully selected to participate in this study. The purposeful sample of the10 counselors are employed in the selected urban North Texas public school district. Creswell(as cited in Roberson, 2017) stated, “criterion sampling includes participants who meet specificcriteria relative to a study” (p. 76). The 10 selected elementary counselors were asked to provideinformation from their 5th-grade students' school records who have been enrolled for 3 years attheir individual schools after attending the district environmental summer science enrichmentprogram after completion of their fourth grade. The 10 selected elementary counselors have vaccess to their students' records, which will depict academic achievement grades, conductgrades, and participation grades. None of the student data records (attendance records, grades,conduct, participation grades) were disclosed by any employee. The researcher used face-to-faceinterviews and open-ended, semi-structured questions to portray the counselors' perspectivesconcerning the role the environmental education center summer science enrichment programplays in students' improvement in conduct, improvement in grades, improvement in classparticipation, and improvement in overall attitude toward school and environmental education.The themes that emerged from the data indicated there is a significant relationshipbetween academic achievement, student conduct, student self-efficacy, and an alternativelearning environment. The consensus among the counselors was that science grades, along withgrades in other classes, for students who attended the environmental summer science educationprogram increased or improved. The counselors stated that student conduct was positivelyaffected, that participation in the summer science enrichment program increased student self-efficacy, and that the environmental summer science enrichment program sparked an interest inscience.


Art J. Borgemenke

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision