Alternative education dropout prevention programs: Case studies of six suburban programs

Rosemary Graziano Brooke, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to identify the characteristics of six suburban alternative school dropout prevention programs to determine how and why these programs encouraged students to remain in school. The results of this study can be used to further the research on alternative education dropout prevention programs and to establish guidelines for future dropout prevention programs. To do this study the program characteristics relating to the academic curriculum, pupil personnel services and extent of parental interaction with the staff were investigated in six suburban school districts. The major findings of this research were: (1) The methods of instruction, class size, program hours, and teacher/student and teacher/parent interaction varied a great deal from the traditional program. These changes helped to create a closer relationship between the teacher and student and parent and a more informal school atmosphere that the students appeared to positively respond to by remaining in school. (2) The pupil personnel services and other related ancillary support services that supplemented the academic program, as well as, the follow-up procedures on attendance and individual academic and/or personal problems were wanted and appreciated by the students. They indicated that these extra services helped them to remain in school. (3) The demand for more individual student attention tended to overburden staff members in small alternative programs and thus, some of these programs experienced a turnover in staff more often than the other programs investigated. These findings supported the research of Newmann (1981) and Goldman and Mann (1984) who concluded that a student's withdrawal from school is a response to alienation or goal failure experienced in the academic and social context of the school. Schools, they maintain, should seek to minimize goal failure in school and help to create a more positive environment for the students. It is hoped that this research can be used by other school officials when they create programs to help the at risk student remain in school until graduation.

Subject Area

Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Brooke, Rosemary Graziano, "Alternative education dropout prevention programs: Case studies of six suburban programs" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8918438.