Date of Award

Summer 6-16-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership (Ed.D)


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Arvin Johnson

Committee Chair

Dr. Susan Stockdale

Second Committee Member

Dr. Melissa Driver


The problem addressed by this study is that alternative schools have a high recidivism rate, due in part to a difficult transition for students back to their traditional, zoned school. The purpose of this study was to identify practices of experienced alternative school teachers perceived as helping students transition from the alternative school setting to the traditional school setting, as well as challenges teachers face. To identify these practices (and challenges), data were collected from 5 teachers at a disciplinary alternative school by surveys, interviews, and observations. Three research questions guided this study:

  1. How do experienced alternative high school teachers build positive relationships with students?

  2. What practices do experienced alternative high school teachers implement to support students’ successful transition back to zoned schools?

  3. What challenges do experienced alternative high school teachers have when helping transition students back to their zoned schools?

    Teachers in a disciplinary alternative school have an opportunity to educate students socially and academically. Challenges included lack of social skills among students and parents, challenges related to mentoring, lack of parental involvement, and lack of communication with the zoned school staff. Teacher-identified themes indicated students need social skills education and positive, caring teacher support. Strategies to help students transition successfully include providing adult mentors, developing a transition plan with all stakeholders, and encouraging extracurricular activities at the zoned school.

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