Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Analysis of traditional principals' perception of alternative education and the impact they have on public high schools in Western PA
by Holtzman, Mark P., Ed.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2014, 140; 3690746
Abstract (Summary)

The popularity of alternative educational options has created more transient students, and the challenge for educators is to communicate and support the needs of all children. The purpose of this study was to gather the perceptions of principals of traditional high schools about alternative education options and investigate the relationships and impact alternative schools have on public high schools. This study surveyed 20 principals in Western Pennsylvania and the researcher also conducted ten follow-up in-depth interviews with survey participants. The investigative themes of the survey and interview questions concerning alternative education were: utilization, value, alignment of efforts, and planning and communication with respect to these settings. The research questions are based on the literature review and are as follows:

1. What type of alternative education programs do traditional principals utilize?

2. To what degree do traditional principals value alternative education programs? Why? Why not?

3. How do traditional principals align their efforts with alternative programs in order to promote student success?

4. What are traditional principals’ perspectives on improving the alternative education process in order to better support at-risk youth transitioning back into public high schools?

The goal was to identify key factors that traditional principals experienced through their practical familiarity with the alternative education process. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected to answer the four research questions. Principals described their practical experiences with alternative schooling and identified the supports necessary in order for educators to meet the unique needs of transient students. Data obtained through the participants’ responses established that communication, social services, and a variety of organizational practices are necessary components for meeting the needs of students attending educational alternatives. The audiences of this particular study are administrators from traditional and alternative settings that are interested in the principal’s voice and practical experiences related to the placement of students in alterative settings and the selected effects of these processes on public schools. The findings confirmed that policies and mandates such as No Child Left Behind, IDEA, AEDY regulations and McKinney-Vento Homelessness Act have limited high school principals’ discretion as they attempt to support transient students with unique needs.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bickel, William
School: University of Pittsburgh
Department: Education Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 76/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational sociology, Instructional Design, Educational leadership, Education Policy
Keywords: Alternative education, Alternative schooling, At-risk youth, Educational options
Publication Number: 3690746
ISBN: 9781321614985
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