The historical development of alternative schools across Tennessee, especially in Maury County

Armecia Alene Cornelius, Tennessee State University


The focus of this study was the historical development of alternative schools in Tennessee and Maury County, as they relate to educating violent and chronically disruptive students. The findings of this research has provided data to school boards, administrators, teachers, and researchers on the development of appropriate policies, programs, and facilities needed to improve alternative schools. In 1984, Tennessee mandated alternative schools be established for grades seven through twelve in Tennessee school systems. The purpose was to help these at-risk students continue their education. These alternative schools have changed drastically in the past two years. Most of the alternative schools that were established from 1984 to 1994 were run similar to in-school suspension programs. Drastic changes were prompted by two surveys which occurred in 1994. These surveys were conducted by the Department of Education and the Office of Education Accountability. The results of both surveys prompted much needed change. As a result of the Department of Education survey, alternative school regulations and guidelines were revised. The Office of Accountability survey indicated that the zero tolerance approach was applied differently throughout the school systems within the states. This survey also indicated that there was a substantial increase in the number of students being served by alternative schools in response to zero tolerance violations. Based upon this and other related concerns, the General Assembly mandated that alternative schools had to provide students with the same educational opportunity available to them at the home school. This regulation has forced alternative schools to change their curriculum and programs. Today alternative schools in Tennessee are supposed to be more centered academically and able to provide therapeutic components to help serve these violent and disruptive students.

Subject Area

Special education|Education history|School administration

Recommended Citation

Armecia Alene Cornelius, "The historical development of alternative schools across Tennessee, especially in Maury County" (1999). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3007599.