I have chosen to research Alternative Education Models because I am interested in what methods are more successul in reaching students who have trouble in the "main stream" classroom. I believe it is becoming more important each year in education to find ways to reach these individuals and find ways to help them succeed. I hope to find successful models that can shed some light on effective learning techniques for these individuals and classroom dynamics that inspire them to be involved and interested in their own education.

5 Things I learned while creating this Wiki:

1. It is not the program or model you use in alternative education, it is the people you use for the programs. In all the sources I have listed, the successful ones have, at the heart of them, individuals who are sincere and passionate about helping the students who need alternative education. Without these individuals, it wouldn't matter what program was used, it would fail.

2. There is no set model or program that is more successful than another. There are hundreds of different types of alternative education programs and each of them has had success. Most of the time the success is due to the dedication of the school district to the program and the staff involved.

3. I learned children who need alternative education are as varied as the programs. Often, I think, kids in these programs are labeled as the "troubled kids" and therefore get what's left over from a school district and, unfortunately don't get the same opportunities as children in the "main stream" educational system. I saw some huge success stories in my research about students who were extremely intelligent, but were written off due to behavioral issues or attendance issues without even trying to help them deal with what was creating these problems. These same students, with a supportive staff and the right schooling style, became very successful.

4. The resources needed to run a successful alternative education system is what keeps many school districts from having one. It takes a great deal of resources and the right individuals involved to create a successful program and creating that system for a relatively low number of students within a public school system is, unfortunately less important than the main stream educational programs.

5. The amount of information is endless on alternative education and state by state there are successes and failures. Even with all the information available, there is no set design for success. Most of the success in any of the programs I looked at were solely based on the people involved and less about the program used.

1. This is a great website about the Simon Youth Foundation and ERC schools or Education Resource Centers. The foundation has 25 ERC's nationwide and is a great alternative for students who are unable to complete their high school education because they do not fit into the public school system for some reason. It is a great example of a successful program and has many examples on the site. If you visit the site, I suggest you watch the clip under Newsroom that shares what the school is about. It is a short clip, but gets to the point of alternative education. I found this website contained some great information for students who lived in the areas where the ERC's are available and is a great model of a successful institution for students who fit the criteria. I give this site a 5 out of 5 gold stars and think it is the best site I have found for information about an alternative education model and if you are only going to visit one site, this would be the one I suggest. The only downside to this program is that we do not have one in our state, but it could be a great example for school districts to use when developing their own program.

Simon Youth Foundation

2. I am a sucker for success stories and in this clip a dedicated staff who are truly interested in the futures of their students, have had some great results. The discussion is more interpersonal based, and less about the actual curriculum used in the classroom, but I believe proves what is needed for these students to succeed. The two students interviewed in the video are proof of what creating a supportive and encouraging relationship can accomplish. I am starting to learn that it is less about the curriculum used and more about the individuals involved in the program. With the right people educating them, students in alternative education can have bright futures. I give this video a 4 out of 5 gold stars because of its motivational appeal. It shows what can be accomplished if we truly believe in these young people.

3. Although this is not a classroom model for alternative eduacation, I believe an online platform for studens could be helpful for them and this slideshare presentations discusses such a platform. It has some good information about at risk youth and ways to help them succeed and shows how the Surrey Alternative Education online platform can help students with many subject areas. As an online resource for students I think it could be usefel information, but as far as for use in the classroom to help inspire students, it is just another resource for them. I give it 3 out of 5 gold stars because of its limitations on classroom involvement and effectiveness, but could be a great resource for those students searching for outside help in subject areas.


4. This is an NPR discussion on the achievement gap between young black males and thier counterparts. As the discussion progresses though, it talks about the gap between all males and their female counterparts. It is an interesting conversation that covers a lot of ideas around education and where we lose young males in our educational system. This is something that is well known in our schools (especially in low income areas) and yet we have been unsuccessful on a national scale in finding a solution to the achievment gap. As the program points out, it seems we focus on the problem for a little while, and then move on until another study is done and then we focus again, but a sustained effort seems to be lacking. It is an intriguing conversation and touches on some major points of concern for me and so I give it a 3 out of 5 gold stars.

5. The link below is an report on the alternative education program in Minnesota. It is a little outdated (2003), but has some very interesting points about alternative education and has some relevant concerns that still need answers today. The report discusses several ideas about the growing need for alternative education, which is still the case today, and how it is a national concern, not only state by state. I found a couple areas of the report still held great relevance to todays classroom environment, such as "students differ, so schools need to differ". If we are going to reach all students we need to provide the vehicle THEY need to succeed, not the one that is nationally designed. It was a very informative report and held a great deal of insight into the programs that Minnesota has had success with and where they are struggling. I give this report a 4 out of 5 gold stars for its content and thought-provoking analysis of the programs they are using.

Alternative-Education Programs in Minnesota

6. The following report, although very lengthy, is a great comparison paper of 15 different alternative schools and what each school offers and where they are successful. I think it does a great job providing a large amount of information on each school and breaking down what methods they use and how successful those methods are. Each school does things a little differently and measures the success of their programs differently, but all of them need to help the students achieve certain standards in order for them to achieve graduation. If you enjoy reading, this is a great report with a great deal of information and study about alternative education and I give it a 4 out of 5 gold stars for the depth of its analysis and the varied schools that it covers.

Alternative Education Overview

7. This introduction to the AHSI schools on Youtube is a great overview of a successful program and a great testament to the people involved in the program. The opportunities it offers its students is very impressive and would be a great model to immulate if the resources were available. I give this presentation a 4 out of 5 gold stars for the positive outlook it shows on alternative education.

8. The Boys of Baraka is an example of a school set up for "problem youth" in which they were sent to Africa to an alternative schooling opportunity that was intended to take two years. However, due to the lack of security in the area, the students only received one year of education. It had profound effects on the young men involved and shows how the impacts of such programs can help young people, but also shows how they are consistently let down by the educational system when they are denied the opportunity to finish the program and left to struggle in their local schools. It is a powerful program and I strongly suggest anyone interested in such schooling to watch the program. I give the program 5 out of 5 gold stars. The following link is to a free movie website that gives viewers the ability to watch the movie.