Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Catherine DiMartino

Second Advisor

Anthony Annunziato

Third Advisor

Randall Clemens


Alternative education can provide a pathway to success for students who require a nontraditional approach. Alternative education is neither general education nor special education; rather, it is a setting or program where instruction is provided outside of the traditional school setting, with modifications made to class size, school day and/or delivery of instruction. Research on alternative programs is limited, and further investigation of factors that contribute to the success of students in alternative settings is warranted. New York State has lagged behind many other states in defining alternative education and providing alternative education options for students. The purpose of this comparative case study is to examine and identify factors that contribute to an effective alternative education program by examining existing programs and to address a gap in the research regarding alternative education programs specifically in New York State. After identifying two different established alternative programs that are considered to be effective, the researcher conducted observations, interviews and a document review in order to identify key effective practices. Three common themes were identified across both settings: collective commitment, embracing evolution and advancing advocacy.