Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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Alternative Education

About Alternative Education

Definition of Alternative Education
Common Elements of Alternative Education
Factors that Place Students At Risk
Frequently Asked Questions and Promising Practices

Common Elements of Alternative Education

Alternative Education programs may operate as a:

  • Program affiliated with one or more schools or districts
  • Separate self-contained alternative school

The setting of Alternative Education may be:

  • School buildings (during school and/or non-school hours)
  • Former school buildings
  • Community or recreation centers
  • Neighborhood organizations
  • Community college or other post-secondary campus

Components of Alternative Education may include:

  • Community Service Learning (CSL)
  • Intense academic monitoring
  • Partnership with a local college/university (i.e., community college)
  • Small group learning (low student/teacher ratios)
  • Parent/family involvement
  • Life skills training
  • Conflict resolution training
  • Partnerships with community based organizations (i.e., YMCA)
  • Work based learning opportunities
  • Flexible scheduling for academic instruction

Last Updated: January 2, 2008
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