Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Educational Studies



First Advisor

Doyle Stevick


Each year, more than three million students return to schools from which they were expelled or suspended for disruptive behavior (National Center for Education Statistics, 2009). The process of reintegration, however, is scarcely studied, and very little is known of the role school leaders play in the process. Reintegration spans a series of stages (initial referral, hearing process, intake meeting and site visit, on-going collaboration and communication, reintegration meeting, and post reintegration follow up), and leaders play a key role at each stage.

Among the roles of the leader from the origin school during each key phase are: to determine if the student needs to be referred to the hearing officer because the school has exhausted all other means of intervention with insufficient success; to notify key school personnel of the decision of the hearing officer; to attend the intake meeting for the purpose of providing first hand information on the student; and to implement the comprehensive reintegration plan for the student. The alternative school's leadership is responsible for: having a comprehensive, written action plan for the student completed by the end of the meeting; ensuring ongoing collaboration and communication with the leadership of the origin school; and organizing the intake meeting during the reintegration process.

The primary purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between alternative learning programs/schools and origin schools, the role of leadership in the relationship, and to identify promising practices that will enhance the relationship between these two entities. Research findings will be used to enhance educators' insight on the impact of relationships on the success of alternative learning programs/schools. This dissertation will explore current practices and challenges to successful reintegration through a series of case studies and interviews. The research question and two primary threads that guided this study were:

What is the relationship between alternative learning programs/schools and origin schools in the process of reintegrating children from alternative learning programs/schools back to their origin schools? What is the role of leadership in the relationship and promising practices that will enhance the relationship between these two entities? This question will have two primary threads:

1. How do alternative school leaders and origin school leaders coordinate the process of reintegration, and how do their conceptions of the process vary?

2. What are the outcomes--attendance, disciplinary, and achievement- of the reintegration process from alternative schools back to origin schools in these specific schools?

Administrators, counselors, and teachers from three alternative learning programs and three origin high schools most involved with reintegration services were identified through the use of purposive sampling participated in this study. Interviews were conducted and transcripts were reviewed to gather data. The collected data were used to develop participant stories reflecting the responses of the participants. The participant stories provided the researcher the opportunity to gain a more in-depth understanding of the perceptions of each participant. A cross case analysis was conducted to allow for comparison of participants' responses.

This study supports the idea that reintegration services for students in alternative learning programs/schools are poorly coordinated between the alternative learning program and the origin school. Implications for further research are discussed.


© 2011, Kenneth Wilson