A qualitative evaluation of a levels system program for students with emotional/behavioral disorders in a public school separate facility setting
The purpose of the research was to gain an understanding of this level system program with the goal of determining how the program functions to meet the needs of all individuals involved in the program. The three research questions were: (1) How does this level system function to meet the needs of students (2) What are the perceptions of the school personnel parents and students? and (3) What are the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the program? Participants who had direct experience with the program were interviewed using a semi-structured format. Researcher observations and inspection of program documents also provided research data. Qualitative research methods were used (source triangulation data coding cross -coding and qualitative data analysis). Results of the study are as follows: (1) A cooperative alliance between parents and school staff worked to facilitate student progress through the program, (2) teachers believed that children of parents who are involved with the school made quicker behavioral and academic progress, (3) parents were generally satisfied with the program, believed their children had made important behavioral changes, and no longer felt discouraged about their children's future, (4) a positive, supportive working environment helped teachers work effectively with students, and teachers felt satisfaction when students made measurable progress toward their goals, ( 5) teacher stress resulted when students were continuously resistant to intervention efforts, ( 6) successful student transition to the mainstream depended on the definition of success used; some staff members estimated a 70 to 80% success rate, (7) negative opinions of individual facility students were sometimes held in the mainstream setting (8) important strengths of the program were a comprehensive approach to intervention and positive student-teacher rapport, and others (9) notable weaknesses of the program were student resistance to return to mainstream campuses and lack of referral of students in the kindergarten through three grade range, and (10) the larger community was perceived to hold a mistaken concept of the program.