Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jenifer Neale

Second Advisor

Dr. Edie Sohigian



Graduates from alternative schools continue to struggle in areas of post-secondary education and careers beyond high school. School systems adopt various initiatives and support programs related to post-secondary education and career planning without taking the initiative to collect data about the students and their post-secondary and career experiences during and beyond high school. This study seeks to explore the lived experiences of former high school students’ alternative educational pathways and their perspectives on the importance of post-secondary and career planning in an alternative high school setting. A qualitative methodology that consisted of open-ended questionnaires and individual telephone interviews with the former high school alternative students was used to conduct this study. The results of the study indicated that alternative high school students have a genuine desire to learn. All of the participants clearly linked SEL (social emotional learning) to the majority of their success during and beyond high school. They all shared information related to their limited post-secondary and career exploration. Participants concluded that even though they received some post-secondary and career planning opportunities, they really needed the opportunity to explore and participate in a stable support system beyond high school.

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