Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Norman Weston

Second Advisor

Dr. Jack Denny

Third Advisor

Dr. Valerie Owen


This program evaluation examines the effectiveness of transitioning students from an alternative program (O’PLUS) back to a general high school setting. Research on effective alternative high schools for students with disabilities includes five components: broad academic courses, support structures that can be customized to a student’s needs, student-felt connection to the school and built in motivation, a caring adult community, and responsive school leadership (Brigharm, et. al. 2006). Students lacking these key components in an alternative setting often do not transition well, or at all, back into the high school general education environment. In this program evaluation it was found that only six students fully transitioned back into general high school over a three-year period of time. Student achievement data were analyzed and interviews conducted to better understand if and how alternative high school students were meeting established criteria to transfer back into high school. It was found that few achieved the required criteria for the transition and of those that did often decided to stay in the O’PLUS program rather than transfer back into the regular high school. While the O’PLUS program was perceived by students and teachers alike as positively impacting the students’ education, the program was failing in its primary mission of transitioning these students back into the regular high school.