Alternative Education

Frequently Asked Questions and Promising Practices

I. General Questions

5. What Alternative Education models exist in Massachusetts?

There are a variety of models of Alternative Education programs/schools throughout the Commonwealth. Programs/schools vary in a number of ways, including:

  • Type of students served - Alternative Education programs/schools include those targeted to very specific populations (e.g., parenting teens, expelled students, students retained in grade nine), as well as more general enrollment that includes a broader base of students that have risk factors for dropping out of school.
  • Grade level(s) served- Alternative Education programs/schools include those that are focused on a particular grade level (or levels) such as at the middle school and high school grades.
  • Setting- Alternative Education programs/schools may be established within the traditional school during the regular school day; within the traditional school after the regular school day; or in a separate, off-site location.
  • Extent of involvement with the traditional school- Alternative Education programs include those that use all, some, or none of the traditional school's teachers and classrooms. Districts may also elect to create a separate official school (with a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education designated school code) devoted to Alternative Education.

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

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