Date of Award

8-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

J. Patrick Biddix

Committee Members

Ralph G. Brockett, Barbara J. Thayer-Bacon, Robert A. Rider

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine In-School Suspension (ISS) facilitators’ role(s) in ISS implementation and effectiveness. An important effect linked to participation in ISS is the decreased likelihood of high school graduation for students assigned to the program. There is also a notable gap in the literature regarding the role and effectiveness of ISS in helping students get back on track. Similarly, little is known about ISS facilitators’ beliefs and perspectives about the program.

A basic qualitative design utilizing in-depth interviews was implemented. Participants included six high school ISS facilitators in one southeastern school district. A thematic analysis of the interviews was conducted following a general inductive approach. Eight themes emerged: 1) facilitator roles, 2) administrator expectations and support, 3) reasons students are assigned to ISS, 4) ISS daily schedule, 5) ISS as a safe and effective place 6) relationship with students, 7) professional development, and 8) room for improvement.

The findings provided implications for educators and researchers. This included the need to create a task force at the school level that includes key stakeholders, establish uniform requirements across the district for the role of ISS facilitator, and offer professional development opportunities to ISS facilitators. Additional recommendations included consideration for the perspectives of ISS facilitators and including their input in relevant conversations, providing support for ISS facilitators in the form of a liaison, and conducting long term research on students assigned to ISS. Furthermore, the need to research relationships between teachers and students who have been assigned to ISS and researching reasons the punitive ISS model is implemented more so than other ISS models is equally important. Finally, the hiring process for ISS facilitators, and investigating the functionality of ISS as it relates to the overall well-being of students should be studied as well.

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