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Choosing an Alternative High School for Teens

Steps Parents Can Take to Pick an Alternative High School for Their Teen


Quick Links: Treatment Programs for Troubled Teens

Follow these steps in choosing an alternative high school for your teen:

1. Locate the alternative high schools available in your community, school district and online. 

2. Determine which aspects of an alternative high school are most important for your teen’s success by considering the importance of each of the following:

  • Learning style
  • Favorite subjects
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Level of participation in class
  • Degree of structure needed
  • Academic strengths and weaknesses
  • Motivation to graduate
  • Emotional, medical or social issues

3. Evaluate each alternative high school by visiting when classes are in session to talk directly to school administrators and get a feel for how students and teachers interact. In evaluating online schools, call and talk to staff in addition to viewing sample teaching tools and curriculum online.

To help make your decision, ask the following questions:

1. Does the school offer a valid high school diploma upon graduation?

To issue a valid diploma the school must be accredited

2.  How long has the school operated and what percentage of students graduate?

The school should provide information about its history and have a proven track record.

3.  How are teachers chosen and what credentials are required?

Teaching discouraged learners is difficult. Well-qualified, motivated teachers with a clear vision of their teaching style have a positive impact on teens.

4How are academic subjects taught?

Teaching methods include the use of books, lectures, visual aids and hands on projects;look for the approach that best matches your teens learning style.

5. What after-school activities are available?

This is particularly important for teens interested in athletics, theatre or other activities that increase their interest in attending school.

6. How is the academic program structured?

Alternative high schools range from completely self-paced programs to a rigid structure implemented by teachers.

7. What support services are offered?

Identify the extent of academic assistance provided outside regular school hours and additional services to address your teen’s unique social, emotional issues or medical needs.

Quick Links: Treatment Programs for Troubled Teens

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