Bringing Out-Of-District Special Education Students Back to Their Home District

Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (EdD)

Committee Chair

Donis Toler

Committee Member

Teresa Plummer

Committee Member

Sarah Jouganatos


Students with disabilities, when placed in out-of-district separate special education placements, are removed from their typically developing peers in their local public school. Positive peer interaction is important for students, not only for academic success, but also in helping students to create their identity (King, et al., 2017). This is particularly important for students diagnosed with autism. The purpose of this project was the formulation of evidence-based, practical recommendations to create a high-quality special education program for high school students with autism so that they can return to their local public school. This dissertation used qualitative methods to collect data. The focus of the research was on understanding the individual needs of the selected students, as identified in their individualized education plans (IEPs). Through interviews with administrators (such as superintendents, directors of special education, and principals) evidence-based practices were identified that can be implemented in in-district special educational programs that can support high school students with autism to return to their local public school and be educated appropriately alongside their peers.