The term Alternative Education is used to describe many forms of education that deviate from the traditional classroom setting. The need for these deviations includes not only how students learn, but the circumstances they are in as well.

At Risk Students

Students at risk are most likely to need an alternative education program to keep them in school. defines at risk student characteristics as students who do poorly in class, have incomplete or missing homework, have poor attendance, and have behavioral problems among other things. The reasons for these problems can be economic status, an unidentified learning disability, or a less than ideal home life. explains that getting close enough to students to learn why they struggle can be difficult. Classroom size may hinder a personal relationship as well as the “fear of accusations of misconduct.” In any case, the teacher can monitor which students might be at risk by monitoring student performance, then consulting with the school principal and guidance councilors.

An article on, Ten Signs You Need to Find a Different Kind of Education for Your Child by Jerry Mintz, parents can help identify if their children could benefit from alternative education by answering a few questions. These questions range from “Does your child say he or she hates school?” to “Does your child come home tired and cranky?”

Students, who struggle, for whatever reason, are most likely to drop out of school.

Drop out rates have decreased, but at risk students still need help. (Infographic by Jennifer Shank-Maxwell)
Drop out rates have decreased, but at risk students still need help. (Infographic by Jennifer Shank-Maxwell)

With the introduction of alternative learning, the percent of high school drop outs and decreased.

Alternative Education Tools

David Havens, in his 2013 SlideShare presentation, ReimaginED: The Future of K12 Education, describes the future of education with technology.

John Reinz Mariano’s 2015 SlideShare presentation, Modes of Learning in Alternative Education, covers topics like distance education, eLearning, and home study.

Websites like offer educators ideas on how to utilize social media outlets like Twiducate and MinecraftEdu in their classrooms.

The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network at Clemson University talks about Alternative Schooling options within traditional schools as well as other options. The site talks about The Alternative Classroom, School-Within-a-School, and Separate Alternative School options.


The Warrior Academy at Winamac Community High School is an Alternative Classroom within the school. Karen Butler is the teacher in the classroom. For now the program is focused on grade recovery, however the plan is to expand and offer more at a later date.

The Indiana Department of Education offers an Alternative Education Q&A file on their website, as well as other information about Alternative Education in Indiana

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