Alternative high schools provide learners with absolutely different experiences from the traditional learning centres. There are different situations that might lead to parents opting for alternative high schools for their children. But these schools vary widely depending on individual requirements. There are public alternative schools and private alternative schools where both offer unique study programs to children depending on their specific needs. Some alternative schools offer education programs parallel with the traditional schools while others are unique and distinct. There’s no specific requirement an alternative school must meet to qualify as an alternative high school, but it should mention the word ‘alternative’ in the name of the school or mention it in its mission or vision statement. Other alternative schools are purely online, and no physical studies are conducted.

What are the alternatives to high school? Alternative schools were designed to help children and students with abnormal behaviours or troubled students who cannot fit in a traditional learning environment. However, these days, children take their children for alternative reasons other than abnormal behaviours. For example, some parents prefer to take children who do not perform well in traditional schools to alternative schools.

Differences between traditional schools and alternative schools

As stated before, alternative schools vary widely, but here are some common features of alternative schools:

Smaller class size: this feature allows teachers and facilitators to offer more personalised services and attention to individual learners. This allows the teacher to focus on the more unique and individual needs of a learner, unlike in traditional schools where class sizes are large, and teachers can’t give special attention to an individual learner.

Highly flexible learning schedules: Alternative high schools are highly flexible. Some even offer classes at night to help students who have children or working during the day. Other alternative schools have flexible qualification requirements or graduation requirements to accommodate every harry, dick and tom. Learners have more choices in subjects as compared to traditional learning systems where certain subjects such as mathematics are compulsory. This enables learners to choose a subject of their own interest without limitation.

Learners are taught using a variety of methods: alternative schools have the flexibility to choose methods that best suit the interests of a learner. Teaching methods in alternative schools often emphasise teaching methods that promote creativity and human interactions. This will save the struggle for those students with special needs who can’t withstand many hours in classrooms and taking a sumptuous amount of notes common in traditional learning setup.

Unique testing techniques: teachers or facilitators in alternative schools use unique testing and assessment methods. Unlike the traditional learning environment where grades are offered to learners based on their performances in exams, alternative schools offer progressive reports and written evaluations for word done and detailed reports on experiences and milestones achieved during internships.

Wholesome training and guidance: Alternative schools offer wholesome social education and ethics where children receive customised attention to address emotional and social needs. Alternative schools establish support groups for counselling and additional resources to ensure all-around addressing to the learner’s specific needs.

Final thoughts

Alternative schools exist to address the education needs of children and pupils with unique requirements. In alternative schools, children are not given exams for purposes of grading, but assessment reports from projects undertaken are added to their portfolios at every step of their education.

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