In general, alternative high schools exist to give students who do not achieve in a traditional academic environment an opportunity to succeed in high school and earn a high school diploma.
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Common features of many alternative high schools include:
Smaller Class Sizes: Smaller classes allow teachers to give students more individual attention and make it easier to tailor lessons to specific student needs.
More Flexible Schedules and Graduation Requirements: Some alternative high schools offer classes at night, which can be helpful for students with jobs or children. Others have flexible graduation requirements and give students more choice in the classes they must take (as opposed to one math class, one science class, one English class, etc. each semester). This can give students the opportunity to study a subject of particular interest to them.
Wider Variety of Teaching Methods: Alternative high schools often use numerous teaching methods that emphasize creativity and interaction. This can help students who struggle with sitting in a classroom and taking notes all day.
Non-Traditional Evaluation Methods: Some alternative schools don’t give out grades, instead they provide written evaluations. Others offer academic credit for work experiences or internships.
Address Social, Mental, and Emotional Needs of the Student: In addition to addressing academic needs, alternative schools often have additional resources, such as counseling and support groups, available for students.