Matthew Jose

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Robert Ricketts

Second Advisor

Jeremy Szteiter


I have been fortunate enough to work with at-risk children within the youth services and education fields for over 20 years now and through this experience I have learned much about the successes and difficulties that these young people face as they navigate life and work their way toward adulthood. An at-risk youth is a child who, because of various life circumstances, is less likely to transition successfully into adulthood. This success could include in the academic realm, job readiness as well as the ability to become financially independent as an adult. In working directly with these students and their families I have seen firsthand just how detrimental the use of exclusionary discipline by schools can be for them. I will outline the development of a sustainable programmatic alternative to exclusionary discipline within this synthesis integrating my own professional and personal experiences with the foundation knowledge of critical and creative thinking I have gained through my participation in the Critical and Creative Thinking (CCT) program. I also describe how my UMASS Boston journey has informed and impacted my thinking in regards to this topic. The goal is for my program to offer schools and administrators an alternative to suspension that simultaneously holds students accountable for their choices and actions without jeopardizing their chances for a successful present and future.