Student Author(s)

Barbara Bollhoffer
Grace Horn

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Laura Pardo

Document Type


Event Date



This is an intervention study focusing on the social and behavioral objectives in high school settings. Our research centers on the development and implementation of an alternative high school. The foundational concept for the school will embody various traits of emotional intelligence: being immersed in the curriculum, the philosophy, the atmosphere, and the teacher/student relationship. Students who attend alternative high schools, their teachers, parents, and administrators comprise the participants in the study. Our research includes quantitative data (tracking suspensions, dropouts, re-entries, graduation rates), qualitative data (interviews, focus groups, surveys, observations, and case studies with students, parents, and teachers), and interventions in a social and behavioral context (e.g. emotional intelligence concepts, core democratic values, team building, goal setting, experiential learning, meditation, school to work transitions, and teachers as a mentor). An ideal alternative high school would accept students who have been unsuccessful in a traditional high school setting. These students will most likely have struggled socially, academically, and behaviorally in previous school experiences. The goals we have for the students attending this school include independence, receiving a diploma or GED, staying out of jail, attaining and retaining a job, and maintaining regular attendance at school. The goal of the study is to identify successful features of alternative high schools, and to consider how an innovative program might draw on both new and existing interventions that research has shown can produce beneficial impacts on students’ educational outcomes. In addition to the quantitative and qualitative data sources, a comprehensive review of the literature will inform the design and implementation plan for alternative high schools. Topics reviewed include at-risk students, teachers as mentors, class sizes, successful alternative high schools, and emotional intelligence.