What is an Alternative School?
Traditional high school can be seen as a “one-size-fits-all” system for educating students. For students who need something a little different, alternative high schools can meet that need. Alternative schools are not just for at-risk students, though they can definitely help those who are at risk of failing or dropping out to get back on track. More importantly, however, alternative schools are for any student whose educational needs are not being met by the traditional system.
Definition of Alternative Schools
An alternative school is simply a school that offers education in a different way. How each alternative school is different from a traditional classroom education varies greatly. Some schools may offer more experiential learning, some may be online, there are blended models, and specialized schools for STEM focused students, for the arts, and for elite athletes. In general,though, alternative schools tend to have more flexible schedules, more student-driven scheduling and specialized course selection, as well as additional services such as social and emotional learning support.
Examples of an Alternative School
Global Advantage, a school for online and blended learning, offers its core academic curriculum online. This gives students more flexibility in their schedules, since they can participate from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection. They can complete their classes at whatever time they are available, making it possible for students who are involved in elite athletics or performing arts programs, students who have to work to support their families, and students who may already be parents to complete their education and fulfill their other obligations.
Wherever there is a significant population of students, Global Advantage has education zones for in person learning and activities. Education zones can be tailored to the interests of local students. For example, the Canon City Education Zone in Colorado offers a weight lifting gym and a batting cage, in addition to academic support and tutoring for students who drop in. In Pueblo, just a few miles away, students can train for wrestling and other sports when they drop into their local zone.
Global Advantage also offers social and emotional support for students. Each student is assigned a Life Coach, who is that student’s “go-to” person. In addition, social and emotional learning is conducted through BASE online courses that cover topics like stress management and conflict resolution.
Through high quality online academics, students can reach their academic potential, and with opportunities like early college or Concurrent Enrollment, some students can earn college credit before they even graduate from high school. Others can participate in internships and workforce readiness programs. Alternative high schools like Global Advantage offer several different pathways to meet their students’ varied and changing needs.
Choosing the Right Alternative School
Every student is different, and their education can be tailored to fit each student. The most important goal of education should be preparation for life after high school. Families need to do their research, and for some, a school that offers multiple pathways may be the best, as student needs also may change over time. The bottom line is that students need to feel comfortable with their educational pathway, so communication is key! Families should keep an open line of communication to ensure that students are happy and thriving in their school of choice.
If you or your student is interested in enrolling in an online alternative school, please contact GlobalED Solutions for more information. We have options available to traditional students and adult learners looking to complete high school as well.