Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




reengagement, trauma-informed school, school resiliency, teacher-student relationship



Alternative high schools have been an option for students who do not succeed in the regular system in the hopes that doing things differently would help these students graduate. This Organizational Improvement Plan (OIP) examines the situation of an alternative high school in a small French school board in Ontario. Student disengagement is reflected in poor attendance and impacts credit completion and graduation rates. Many solutions to improve engagement have been put forward with mitigated success. An analysis of the organizational readiness for change reveals that the organization feels the urgency of finding a solution to the problem. To prepare for the change, a leadership approach is elaborated by drawing mainly on Helgesen (1995) and Fullan’s (2014) work. This change intervention requires intensive planning as it involves a change in paradigms in order to have a lasting effect. By becoming a trauma-informed school, the alternative high school will not only become a safe haven for students, it will also instill a culture of collective efficacy and self-care for staff. It will provide opportunities for staff to develop positive relationships with students, which studies reveal is a strong factor in reengagement. A detailed plan to communicate has been elaborated. It is important to keep looking at the alternative high school with a critical lens to bring it to a level where it becomes a tool in fostering equity and social justice.

Keywords: reengagement, trauma-informed school, school resiliency, teacher-student relationship