Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hare, R. Dwight

Committee Member

Lindley, Clyde

Committee Member

Sewell, Beth

Committee Member

Davis, Ed

Committee Member

Blackbourn, Richard

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Education Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Leadership and Foundations


Some students find it difficult to reach graduation in a regular secondary school setting, but may be successful in an alternative setting. Causes of not graduating could include high absenteeism and behavior problems, which may result in dropping out. This study sought student perceptions of an alternative program in a public school district in the state of Mississippi. The participants were 10 students and their parents, 10 teachers, and the administrator. Data included interviews and school documents, and were analyzed using the constant comparative method. This research found that some of the students were enthused upon receiving alternative placement. Students liked the curriculum tailored to their individual needs, more one-on-one time with the teacher, and the opportunity to focus on the changes that they needed to make to improve their educational opportunities. Some parents expressed their disappointment in their child’s placement; however, there were some parents who prefer the alternative school over regular school. The parents who were disappointed thought it to be a place where they put bad kids and where the teachers were not good teachers. The parents who preferred it liked the smaller teacher-student ratio and believed that alternative teachers were more supportive and kind. The teachers expressed the alternative school does not get the same attention as other district schools and is seen as a dumping ground for both teachers and students. Recommendations to the district include: evaluate the criteria for placing students in the alternative school, increase communication between the alternative and the regular school, provide a specialist to help focus on student learning styles, provide a full-time counselor to help students deal with the issues contributing to their lack of success in the regular school, and improve the physical setting for the alternative school. Further research is needed in the district: to determine what could be improved in the alternative academic program; to determine whether the alternative school curriculum is meeting state standards; and to examine the acceptance of students and faculty in the alternative program by district students and personnel.



alternative school