Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Jared Schlenker


Oftentimes, alternative schools are viewed with a deficit perspective. Yet, the way teachers are taught to build and enhance supportive relationships with adolescent students helps those students to become more successful in the alternative school setting. This study focused on characteristics of this central phenomenon and important factors used for building adolescent supportive teacher-student relationships in the alternative school setting. A qualitative study comprised of 10 individually structured interviews was conducted. Recorded using the online platform Zoom, interviews were conducted with five administrators and five teachers in five different secondary alternative schools located in the south-central part of the United States. A list of 13 predetermined open-ended questions was used to learn about the schools’ adolescent supportive teacher-student relationship building practices and the resulting improved success rates of students in their schools. A White Paper was then created to highlight the important adolescent teacher-student relationship building practices within alternative schools that enhanced student success, so that supportive teacher-student relationship building practices could be identified and implemented for use within traditional schools. Adolescent students in traditional schools may also benefit from supportive teacher-student relationship building practices, resulting in enhanced success beginning at the middle school level which is typically when relationships between teachers and students begin to decline.Keywords: supportive teacher relationships, alternative school, adolescent