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ERIC Number: ED555827
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 161
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3034-8211-3
Discovering Successful Elements of Alternative Schools by Studying Student Perspectives in Two Alternative-to-Expulsion Programs
Eschen, Eric Thomas
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Idaho
This qualitative study analyzed two alternative-to-expulsion programs for high school students. Both programs, the "Learning with Peers Program" and the "Individualized Online Program", offered students an opportunity to earn credits rather than be expelled, but their philosophies presented an educational dichotomy: Should students be educated in supportive small classes with their peers--the "Learning with Peers Program"--or removed from any peer interaction by solely using an online curriculum with teacher support--the "Individualized Online Program?" Both programs had success educating alternative-to-expulsion students and transitioning them back to traditional high schools. The purpose of this study was to discover the successful elements of the programs by interviewing students and identifying, based on student perceptions, what made these schools effective. The study's research questions were: (1) What elements of the program do students identify as being effective? (2) What specific role did staff members assume to help students succeed? and (3) How have students who attended these programs performed regarding grades, attendance, and discipline referrals since they returned to a traditional setting? The results identified specific program elements to best reach these at-risk students. The study found teachers must shift from a more traditional model of teaching to an alternative one where they are less content-area centered and more emotionally student-centered. With this relationship in place, teachers can better help students through assignments and change students' attitudes towards themselves and school. Programs need to use self-paced curriculum to allow students to feel in control of their education. Program rules should be lenient and understanding, but with a clear end-point for noncompliant students. Peers can be an asset or a detriment to learning and teachers need an option to isolate students in order to continue the learning process. Students need support with personal issues and transition help when returning to a traditional environment. These elements, when successfully applied lead students to redefine their role in school and make changes that positively influence their education and their lives. [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: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A