Date of Award

Spring 3-17-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in School Leadership


Teaching & Educational Leadership


College of Education and Health

Committee Chair

Dr. John Freeman

Second Committee Member

Dr. Steve Bonds

Third Committee Member

Dr. Roger Guevara

Program Director

Dr. John Freeman

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Sarah Gordon


The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the decision-making process of school leaders in ALE settings when determining the resources they provide and whether the resources provided ensure that these students are successful in the classroom, graduate on time, or earn a high school equivalency diploma. In the study, there were 10 participants who represented a variety of schools in Southwest Arkansas. Seven of the schools operate their alternative learning environment classes on-site. Three of the schools partnered with an educational cooperative to operate their ALE programs. The data were collected by conducting interviews which allowed the researcher to identify common themes.

The major findings identified from the study were that all ALE programs have a referral process and a goal of transitioning ALE students back to their home campus. The findings also indicated that ALE staff spend time with students preparing student action plans that set short-term and long-term goals for the students to work towards as they prepare to transition back to their home campus and work towards graduating on time.

The strength of alternative education is an environment that is student-centered, safe, and accepting of everyone, a place where students feel that they belong, and can graduate high school or earn a GED. Alternative programs present alternative pathways in which to achieve educational success in the classroom and earn a high school diploma. Alternative education programs provide multiple academic and mental health resources that the traditional campus may not be able to offer.

Keyword: Alternative Learning Environment (ALE)