Date of Submission

Summer 6-10-2017

Document Type



Doctor of Education



OIP Defense Chair

Dr. Elan Paulson


adaptive leadership, alternative education, at-risk students, learning community, ontological development, paradigm shift, social-emotional learning, social justice


The problem of practice in this organizational improvement plan (OIP) is that the existence of Alternative Programs impedes progress to meaningful school change. The school board is moving toward a paradigm shift as indicated through a number of initiatives discussed in this OIP. This OIP was developed through a review of the literature on: Alternative Education, attitudes toward students labelled at-risk and through an examination of documents produced and disseminated by the Ministry. This OIP takes social critique perspective (Furman, 2004; Starratt, 2004) to understand purposes for referring students to Alternative Programs within the current paradigm. This OIP also explores the learning needs of students as they relate to the development of human identity, not as related to curriculum knowledge and career development. The emerging realization is that learning is a biological process which develops the identity of learners as self-authored beings (Hodge, Baxter Magolda, & Haynes, 2009). It is discovered that the Board is shifting toward an Ontologically Developmental Paradigm (Oh Neill, 2014). Such a shift changes the purpose of education from social reproduction to social reconstruction.