Alternative Education is designed to meet the needs of at-risk students who are not succeeding in the traditional setting. Students are provided with a variety of options that can lead to graduation and are supported by services that are essential to success for the student and his or her immediate family. The goal is to develop programs that proactively address the needs of these students rather than create destinations for punishment. The end result should be higher attendance, improved classroom behavior and improved academic achievement.
Alternative education types include but are not limited to: alternative classrooms, school-within-a-school programming, separate alternative schools, and second or last-chance schools for disruptive students. Just as there are many types and settings for alternative schools, there are many delivery models based on the programs’ philosophy and the needs of the students they serve. Some follow a school community partnership model that features collaboration with the larger community. Others may combine academics with a vocational intervention that focuses on making school meaningful while preparing students for the workforce. Still others employ a behavioral intervention model.
To qualify as an alternative education program, the program must “be an educational program for eligible students that instruct the eligible students in a different manner than the manner of instruction available in a traditional school setting.”