Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


Ferri, Beth A.


alternative program, DisCrit, emotional disturbance

Subject Categories

Education | Special Education and Teaching



The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore and understand, from the perspective of experienced Special Education Teachers, successful practices and barriers in meeting the needs of students with emotional disturbance (ED) in Special Education Alternative programs. The study aims to gain an in-depth understanding, from the lived experiences of special education teachers, the critical elements required for comprehensive instructional and social-emotional learning (SEL) supports and services in meeting the diverse needs of ED students. Additionally, this research was conducted to gain insight into the barriers and systematic challenges in fulfilling the school's original intention of transitioning students to less restrictive educational settings once they are placed. Phenomenological interviews focused on the research questions revealed an expanded need for district level support, on-going professional development, and comprehensive Special Education Alternative program planning. Keywords: alternative program, disproportionality, marginalized, overrepresentation, student outcomes, segregated settings


Open Access