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Alternative Education

Alternative Education programs are designed to meet the needs of public school students in grades 6-12 who have not been successful in the traditional setting. Students are provided with a variety of options that can lead to graduation and are supported by services essential to success.

  • Alternative Education Programs

    While each of Indiana’s alternative education programs is unique, there are state level requirements for programs that are common to successful alternative schools:

    • Student to teacher ratio of 15:1 or less;
    • Operate for a minimum of three continuous hours per day;
    • Clearly stated mission and discipline code;
    • Caring faculty that has chosen to work in the alternative program
    • Continual staff development;
    • High expectations for student achievement;
    • Learning program tailored to the students’ needs and learning style;  
      • Each student must have an Individualized Service Plan (ISP) that guides the student toward academic and behavioral goals;
    • Community involvement and support.
  • Types of Alternative Education Programs

    Alternative education types include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Alternative classrooms
    • School-within-a-school programming
    • Separate alternative schools
    • Second or last-chance schools for disruptive students

    Just as there are many types and settings for alternative schools, there are many delivery models based on the programs’ philosophy and the needs of the students they serve. Some follow a school community partnership model that features collaboration with the larger community. Others may combine core academics with Career and Technical Education (CTE) and work-based learning opportunities that focus on making school meaningful while preparing students for the workforce. Still others employ a behavioral intervention model.

    In Indiana, the programs and models designed to meet the needs of disaffected youth are as diverse as the students themselves. Despite this diversity, however, all alternative education programs are held accountable for helping students master the Indiana Academic Standards and must comply with educational laws and rules.

  • Alternative Education Grants

    To obtain alternative education grant funding based on the formula established in the legislation, public school corporations must:

    • Submit a proposal for a program to the Indiana Department of Education for approval;
    • Serve eligible students. Eligible students are students who:
      • Intend to withdraw or have withdrawn from school before graduation;
      • Have failed to comply academically and would benefit from instruction offered in a manner different from the manner of instruction available in a traditional school;
      • Are parents or an expectant parents and are unable to regularly attend the traditional school program;
      • Are employed and the employment is necessary for support and interferes with a part of student's instructional day; or
      • Are disruptive (as defined in IC 20-10.1-4.6-1.6).
    • Develop written Individualized Service Plans (ISPs) for each student;
    • Employ the teachers providing the academic instruction; and
    • Conduct program sessions for a minimum of three consecutive hours.
  • Documents and Resources