Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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Alternative Learning Options

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Alternative Education
Alternative Education is an approach offered to "at-risk" students in a nontraditional setting. Alternative Education includes self-contained public schools as well as programs affiliated with a school (or schools).
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Career/Vocational Technical Education
Career/vocational technical education programs are offered by many high schools across Massachusetts.
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Charter Schools
A charter school is a public school that is managed by a board of trustees and operates independently of any school committee under a five-year charter granted by the Board of Education.
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Commonwealth Virtual Schools
A Commonwealth Virtual School is a public school in which teachers provide instruction primarily from a remote location using the Internet; students in any part of the state can apply to attend the school.
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Service-Learning is an instructional methodology, used in both traditional and non-traditional school settings, that integrates community service into the curriculum.
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High School Equivalency (HSE) Testing Program
The HSE Tests provide the opportunity to earn a Massachusetts High School Equivalency Diploma, accepted by nearly all colleges, universities, and employers in the United States
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Approved Private Special Education Schools
The Program Quality Assurance office maintains a directory of private day and residential special education schools which meet Massachusetts' approval requirements.
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Proprietary Schools
Proprietary schools are privately owned and operated post-secondary schools organized as either a non-profit or a profit-making venture primarily to teach vocational skills. The Department regulates business, trade, and correspondence schools.
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School Choice
The school choice program allows parents to send their children to schools in communities other than the city or town in which they reside. Tuition is paid by the sending district to the receiving district. Districts may elect not to enroll school choice students if no space is available.

Last Updated: July 18, 2018
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