OPTIONS IN SECONDARY EDUCATION: THE SCHOOL WITHIN A SCHOOL CONCEPT
AuthorMoffett, James Jackson
Education -- Experimental methods.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe study was concerned with developing strategies that can be used to implement and operate a School Within A School (SWAS) program that may contain an action-learning component. The study began with an intensive search of the literature. Later, two data collecting instruments were developed: (1)a semi-closed-end questionnaire which was mailed to 112 SWAS programs as identified in the National Directory of Public Alternative Schools (Flaxman and Holmstead, 1978); and (2) an open-ended telephone interview instrument which was administered via telephone to ten respondents working in SWAS programs across the United States. Prior to use, the two instruments were submitted to a panel of five experts for review. Data from the semi-closed-end instrument were recorded and each telephone interview was tape recorded and then transcribed. A summary of the most significant findings, using data from both the instruments follows. The majority of the SWAS programs were implemented to deal with a particular group of students in a more effective manner. A substantial number of programs were implemented to deal with attendance and drop-out problems. Teachers proved to be the most likely group of professionals to call for a SWAS program. Teachers also proved to be the major stumbling block to successful program implementation. The respondents emphasized the importance of dealing with change effectively in order to successfully implement innovations. Involvement of the school community facilitated program implementation. SWAS programs have been implemented and operated in the face of a district's declining resources. The operating expenses of a majority of the SWAS programs were equal to or below operating expenses of the regular host school. The major problem encountered in implementing and operating a SWAS program is the philosophical division the concept promotes between faculty proponents and opponents. However, it was also funding that by successfully dealing with the fears and threats posed by change, program advocates can facilitate implementation and operation. Finally, it was found that SWAS programs offering an action-learning component can easily initiate and maintain communication and coordination with community resource personnel and on-site supervisors. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended that: (1)SWAS programs be directed at providing either curriculum options or scheduling options; (2)prior to introducing the SWAS concept, a needs survey be conducted and school community participation be encouraged and fostered in all phases of planning, operation, and evaluation; (3)once the SWAS concept has been introduced, steps be taken to reduce the stress and fear attendant to change; (4)accurate program evaluation procedures be established that are sensitive to the goals and objectives of the SWAS program; (5)a SWAS program operate with the same per-pupil expenditure ratio as the host school; (6)lines of authority and responsibility be clearly delineated in the program proposal; and (7) community resource personnel be involved in planning, operating, and evaluating any action-learning component.
Degree ProgramGraduate College