Alternative Education Models and Strategies

64% of school districts offer at least one alternative school or program to address student needs that cannot be met in a traditional school setting. However, alternative education is a broad umbrella: it can serve many different types of students to address a range of student needs. There are also several different delivery models for alternative education, including on-site programming and separate schools.

To be successful, school districts should select the alternative education model based on the unique needs and goals for their student population.

In this Research Brief you’ll find

Discover Alternative Education Models

Alternative education can serve many types of students to meet a range of goals, such as helping students earn academic credits, providing career preparation and credentials, or assisting students in transitioning out of a detention or treatment program and back into traditional schools. The services provided by an alternative school or program depend on the program’s purpose and the specific population served, but may include: regular academic instruction, counseling, behavioral services, social skills and support services, and career education.

The three most common alternative education models are:

Alternative schools

Typically housed in a separate facility, requiring students to leave their regular school

Alternative programs

Typically housed within regular schools

Targeted, school-based support strategies

Academic, behavioral, and health services provided in the school setting

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