An Alternative Education Program for At-Risk Students Implemented in a Rural Alberta High School
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For over 50 years, schools across North America have implemented a variety of alternative education programs to help address the needs of students who have struggled in traditional school settings. Students who do not complete high school often experience a variety of psychological and social challenges, and there may be a negative impact on the economy. This study examines an alternative education program that was designed to help at-risk students successfully complete high school. The staff used a flexible approach that focused on individualized programming, modified classroom rules, relationship building, and student-paced learning. Seven students in a rural Alberta high school participated in this study. Each student had attended traditional schools in the past, but attended the alternative education program during the 2014-15 school year. The study compares the number of credits completed by each student over the course of two school years. The two years compared were the 2013-14 school year and the 2014-15 school year, while attending the alternative program. The results of the study show that, on average, the students completed more credits while attending the alternative program. The majority of the students completed more than enough credits in the alternative program to be on pace to complete a high school diploma in three years. From the results of this study, it can be concluded that the flexible approach used in the alternative program was able to successfully meet the unique needs of the at-risk students who attended the program. Future research in the field of alternative education may want to focus on the transition of at-risk students back to traditional schools.