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Alternative Education in Nebraska Public Schools

Kandace L Garwood, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


There are numerous definitions for Alternative Education Programs (AEPs). Most AEPs are not preventative in nature, but serve as placements for students once they have experienced serious behavior problems in school or are at-risk of not graduating from a traditional school setting. A survey from the 2007–2008 school year, indicated that approximately 64% of school districts have at least one AEP and approximately 2% of school aged students attended AEPs that year. Little research has been done to study AEPs nationally or at the state level. The purpose of this quantitative study is to determine the current state of alternative education in Nebraska. The study defines alternative schools and programs as only those that serve at-risk students, including special education students. The study will determine the primary purpose of alternative schools and programs in Nebraska. It will also investigate Superintendents’ perceptions regarding special education representation, minority representation, poverty representation, and graduation rates for students attending AEPs in Nebraska. A survey was distributed to all Superintendents serving students in Nebraska public schools during the 2016–2017 school year. Sixty-nine (69) Superintendents, out of a total of 245 completed the survey (28.16%). The research findings suggest that school district size is a critical factor in determining if a district has its own AEP. Four (4) of the survey questions asked Superintendents perceptual questions regarding specific student populations and the graduation rates for their AEPs as compared to their district. Superintendents reported that the specific populations represented in their districts and in their AEPs were similar. It was determined that some special education students drop the special education label in order to attend AEPs. Space and staffing limitations were indicated at both district operated AEPs and the contracted sites. The districts that contract for AEP services indicated that they had more space and staffing limitations than those who operate their own AEPs. The findings of the study suggest that additional research is needed in this area. Included are recommendations for future practice.

Subject Area

Educational administration|Education|Special education

Recommended Citation

Garwood, Kandace L, "Alternative Education in Nebraska Public Schools" (2018). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10784484.