Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Bruce W. Boyles

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the alternative education model, the Bridges to Success Program, and the program’s impact on teachers teaching within the program in a middle school in the Upstate of South Carolina. The Bridges to Success Program was initiated in September 2009 for at-risk students in eighth grade with a history of poor attendance, behavior issues, and low math and reading academic performance.

The evaluation model used was the Logic Model. The research questions set the framework for this study. Research questions focused on short-term outcomes that evaluated how teacher knowledge of at-risk students changed as well as how their knowledge of their own teaching skills and instructional strategies changed from teaching within the Bridges to Success Program. Another research question focused on intermediate outcomes that would demonstrate if teacher behavior and attitudes had changed as a result of the implementation of the Bridges to Success Program. The final research question focused on the long-term outcomes that revealed the impact of the Bridges to Success Program on the culture of the eighth grade. The researcher used surveys and focus group interviews with the staff to answer the research questions. Participants for this study included Bridges to Success Program teachers and eighth-grade teachers within the school of the study. The data methods were studied individually for trends as well as combined for themes across all data methods. The data were shared in frequency distribution tables. Each of the outcomes was addressed, and evidence from the study was provided as to the impact to the teachers in this study.

The study revealed the impact of the Bridges to Success Program on the teachers within the Bridges to Success Program. An analysis of the data showed that the Bridges to Success Program had a positive impact on teacher knowledge, behaviors, attitude, and overall culture in the eighth grade of the school in the study. Themes that contributed to the positive impact were caring teachers who set high expectations, engaging parents, developing self-efficacy in students, incorporating professional development, and single-gender education.

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