Perceptions of alternative schools in the Metropolitan Nashville School District

Ruby Ingle Smith, Tennessee State University


Alternative programs in the nation are faced with the responsibility of meeting the needs of the students removed from their home school for various infractions. Current legislation (IDEA, 2004) holds educators legally responsible for providing all students, including those with disruptive behaviors, a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment (LRE). There is a dearth of information to substantiate whether or not alternative schools in Nashville are meeting or exceeding the expectations of the alternative school program. This study evaluated the responses from the faculty and staff of the alternative learning centers, teachers and principals of regular education schools, and directors/executive directors of learning support services regarding their perceptions of the effectiveness of alternative schools in the Metropolitan Nashville Public School District. Secondly, the study investigated whether the Metropolitan Nashville Public School District's alternative learning centers are effectively meeting the requirements of the State of Tennessee Education Commission. The participants for the alternative schools included 40 teachers and 6 administrators. In addition, five directors/executive directors of the Learning Support Services of the Metropolitan Nashville Public School District were surveyed. Based on the findings of this study, there is evidence regarding the effectiveness of alternative programs in the Metropolitan Nashville Public School District. There was a statistically significant difference on each hypothesis as listed (1) whether alternative schools are meeting or exceeding their purpose, (2) whether having alternative schools reduces behavioral problems in regular schools, (3) whether alternative schools help alleviate behavioral problems in the regular school program, (4) whether alternative schools are over-represented by minorities, (5) whether the lower pupil-teacher ratio in alternative schools and programs is beneficial to the students in the alternative setting, (6) whether alternative schools give students grades based on their behavior rather than academic performance, and (7) whether zero tolerance infractions should be modified or changed for some special circumstances.

Subject Area

School administration|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Ruby Ingle Smith, "Perceptions of alternative schools in the Metropolitan Nashville School District" (2012). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3508193.