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ERIC Number: ED566087
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 165
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3037-0727-8
An Action-Oriented Research Approach to Privatized Special Education
Mendoza, Kathryn
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Fielding Graduate University
Bright Horizons, a private school located in Florida, specializes in working with students of varying exceptionalities and is founded on the principles of action research. It began as an effort to create an alternative educational opportunity for a few specific children and grew into a special education school open to the community. The purpose of this dissertation was to perform a formal evaluation of the program and use the feedback in the next cycle of action research. This study formally solicited input from both current and past stakeholders including staff and parents. Stakeholders shared their perception about the strengths and the challenges of the program, and they provided recommendations for improvements. The data were collected and analyzed utilizing the action-oriented research approaches of Greenwood and Levin (2007) and Stringer (2007), and the focus group techniques recommended by Krueger and Casey (2000). The previous stakeholders and the parents of current students were individually interviewed and the current staff participated in a focus group. The staff directly created a portion of the action plan that was implemented. The results indicated a significant overlap of the perceived strengths and challenges among stakeholder groups. The strengths of the program aligned with two main areas: social/emotional atmosphere and program format. In social/emotional atmosphere were (a) sense of belonging/student teacher ratio, (b) trust in the staff/knowledge that children are safe, (c) students' enjoyment of school, and (d) staff personalities/individual attention provided to parents. In program format were (a) systems format for administration/classroom, (b) individualized curriculum, and (c) field trips/outings. The challenges of the program from the perspective of parents included (a) cost/summer school not included in tuition, (b) duplication/follow-through at home, (c) school hours/no before or after care, (d) lack of busing, (e) lack of a lunch program, and (f) lack of direction for after graduation. The challenges of the program from the perspective of the staff included (a) lack of duplication/follow-though at home, and (b) job stress related to student behavior. The findings of this study indicated that overall both the families of students and the staff feel that the program strengths far outweigh the program challenges. [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:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida