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ERIC Number: ED521140
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 195
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1241-0656-4
What Parents Expect of Urban Alternative Schools and How These Schools Address Parents' Expectations to Make Needed Changes
Gibson, Shirley Kaye
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Cincinnati
Several studies have examined parent expectations of schools in general (Gewertz, 2008; Carney-Hall, 2008; Keller, 2008; Stelmach, 2005; Boal, 2004; Lawson 2003; Wherry, 2003; Cheney, 2002; Bomotti, 1996; Epstein & Hollifield, 1996). Other studies have more specifically addressed parents' expectations of urban schools and their reasons for choosing private and magnet schools over public urban schools for their children (Ghazal 2006; Spann, Kohler, Frank & Soenksen, 2003; Goldring & Hausman, 1999). However, little is known about what parents expect of urban alternative "last chance" schools in particular. This research study used qualitative methods to explore the stories of parents, teachers, and principals in three urban alternative "last chance" schools located in the Midwestern United States. The study used school archival data, field observations, and transcripts of in-depth interviews with 17 parents, 6 teachers, and 3 principals to understand parents' expectations of these schools. The research questions for this study were: What do parents expect of urban alternative "last chance" schools; are these schools meeting parents' expectations; and how are these schools changing to address parents' expectations? The research showed most parents of urban alternative students expect a quality education that meets the needs of their children, credit recovery for on time high school graduation, frequent and timely communication from school to home, a safe learning environment, school personnel who genuinely care for their children, small group social skills classes, and opportunities for increased parent involvement in their child's education. The research efforts of this study also indicated that educators agreed with parents that their greatest expectation for their children was that they graduate from high school on time. Urban alternative educators also felt that parents expect staff members to communicate openly and freely with them concerning their children's needs. And finally, school staff members indicated that parents expect them to meet their child's individual educational needs. The research from this study also indicated that most parents agreed that urban alternative schools are meeting or exceeding their expectations for their children's academic success and social needs. Most parents also agreed that staff members were doing their best to provide timely communication to them concerning their child's academic progress. Many parents indicated that although they felt free to voice their concerns, they recalled only a few instances of school-wide change resulting form their input. However, on the other hand, most staff members agreed that urban alternative schools were using parent input to a greater degree to make needed changes in school policies. Data collected from parents and educators alike revealed that most research participants agreed that parents' greatest expectation of urban alternative schools is that their children receive the same high quality of education that they would expect to receive at traditional school sites. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A