Prepared for a future? Experiences and perceptions of former students who were remanded to alternative programs while attending high school

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Monique Studevent Curry (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Craig Peck

Abstract: In January 2000, the Alternative and Safe Schools Instructional and Support Division (ASSIS) of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) was charged with developing guidelines that determined how districts could establish and maintain effective Alternative Learning Programs (NC DPI, 2014). In 2003, ASSIS produced the first revision to the Alternative Learning Program Manual. Unfortunately, this manual was created by reviewing current policies, feedback from existing ALP staff members throughout North Carolina, and research-based information on best practices for improving students assigned to alternative learning programs. Student voice and parent participation were absent from the creation of the guidelines and manual for alternative programs that were designed to be the answer for students who were not finding success in traditional settings. Today, more attention still needs to be directed to the students’ perspectives on why they are disengaged from learning. Educators and legislators have spent time creating a model that conveniently fits the districts’ needs to justify how they are reaching students at risk of dropping out (Holquist, 2019), but they have done little to include the students’ perspectives. Examining the experiences of students who formerly attended alternative programs for disciplinary purposes will give educators information that could be utilized to provide the appropriate scaffolding and interventions that assist students in alternative high schools to reintegrate back into traditional settings successfully. In this qualitative study, I focused on acknowledging the voices of former students who spent some time in an alternative programs for discipline during their high school tenure. I asked, “What are the perspectives and experiences of former high school students ages 18-30 who spent time in an alternative educational program?” The research sub-questions that I addressed in this study were: 1. How effective did they feel the alternative school interventions prepared them to successfully reintegrate into their home schools and/or meet graduation requirements? 2. What did they feel worked best about the alternative educational program? 3. What changes did they think would have helped improve the alternative educational program? My study findings revealed that several students incurred greater academic struggles while participating in alternative disciplinary programs, affecting them throughout the remainder of their high school careers. My participants also revealed that resources were limited in the alternative setting and were lacking compared to the traditional schools. Following the theoretical framework that I chose for my research; some students did push on and find success while in the alternative school because of their self-determination to have a better life in the future. The data I found in my research includes students’ reflective perspectives on their past educational experiences. I truly believe that my findings can be beneficial in designing future alternative programs and possibly begin a dialogue regarding standards for consistency of programming across North Carolina that will benefit students who are remanded to these environments.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2024
Alternative Education, Alternative Schools, Discipline, Drop out, Exclusionary Discipline, Student Voice
Problem children $x Education (Secondary) $z North Carolina
Alternative education $z North Carolina
Alternative schools $z North Carolina
School discipline $z North Carolina

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