Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




alternate programs, exclusionary practices, opportunity gap


While there is a niche of students who benefit from alternate education programs, there is a growing concern with the exclusionary nature of these programs and the limited research published regarding the effectiveness of these programs meeting the needs of students they serve (Smith et al., 2007). There is also concern that alternate programs contain a large percentage of students from marginalized groups, and that they are reinforcing and perpetuating some of the challenges they were meant to address through the process of othering students. Othering is an incident where groups or an individual are labeled as not fitting in with the norm, it is the us vs. them mentality (Cherry, 2020; Spencer-Iiams & Flosi, 2021). This Organizational Improvement Plan (OIP), rooted in social justice and equity, investigates how to build educational leaders’ capacity to proactively address the opportunity gap for students considered marginalized and eliminate exclusionary practices in their neighborhood school.

Using transformative and inclusive leadership approaches, a change intervention plan incorporating a diagnostic framework, the Change Path model (Deszca et al., 2020) and a dialogic framework, the Dialogic Change model (Kuenkel et al., 2021) are presented. It is suggested that by developing a leadership development series that incorporates lead learner teams (LLTs), presented by Katz et al. (2018), educational leaders will gain the capacity to address the opportunity gap and eliminate exclusionary practices in schools.