A case study of two phases of an alternative high school program

Rosemarie Gardner, Fordham University


The purpose of this study is to examine if an alternative high school program is one solution to dropout prevention. This study researched how an alternative high school program may prevent students from leaving school early and how an alternative program influences a traditional high school program. This qualitative case study which focuses on two phases of a specific alternative program describes the Poughkeepsie Evening (Alternative) High School and its growth and modification into its present day program, the Dutchess Alternative High School. The data gathered include information from questionnaires, documents, interviews, and reflections from the administrators. The data indicate that these programs have had a positive effect on students. It was and is a functional program which offers students, who do not succeed in a traditional program, a second opportunity to complete their high school education. Students who were at risk or who had dropped out entered the alternative high school and successfully met the requirements for graduation or returned to the traditional program to do so. The traditional program experienced a decrease in the dropout rate. Attention which was focused on the at-risk student was redirected to the successful students and increased instructional time was experienced in the classroom. It is postulated that an alternative program is one possible solution to dropout prevention, however, alternative programs will differ according to student needs and the individuals who are designing the program. The local district will determine the viability of the implementation of an alternative program. Recommendations for practice are included. These ideas may be used for the development of an alternative program or transferred to the traditional program. These recommendations include suggestions for personnel characteristics, leadership qualities, staff development, program design, cost effectiveness, and early intervention. In addition, future research is suggested.

Subject Area

School administration|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Gardner, Rosemarie, "A case study of two phases of an alternative high school program" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9839505.