Naturally, as a parent, when you hear “alternative high school” you may feel the urge to fight the notion that there is something wrong with your child. And there is not. However, what needs to be done first is to evaluate where your child stands in school. Are they clearly smart but struggling? An extra hand? Learning disabilities? These are all valid questions that need to be answered because not every child learns the same way or learns at the same pace. And quite frankly, public schools are not created equally either and do not always have the tools that your child may need.
How Are Alternative High Schools Different?
Let us put it this way, imagine a group of children singing; each child is singing a different note. Now, the teacher goes to each student with a tuning fork and asks the student to match the note of the tuning fork. Some children might get it and others won’t. The key is using the right tool, like tuning a string, in order to help them reach the destination, or the note, you desire.
Alternative high schools are, essentially, a tuning fork. They have the capability of finding the note that your child can match. And it goes without saying, alternative high schools offer smaller classes, furthering a child’s fine tuning.
This attitude towards teaching permeates alternative high schools. Do you have a child that struggles with sitting? Their methods often use creativity and interaction. What about children that like learning but just are not interested or challenged in the material? Teaching methods can be structured around a child’s preferred method of learning and even some self-direction. And if your child needs an extra hand? With smaller classes, children have easier access to personal time with academic support as well as counselors on top of regular meetings.
Public School Alternatives
It is a shame that some public schools are not always up for the task of building up children the way they need. And, unfortunately, this can lead to high school dropouts. This can lead to a ripple effect that many do not pull themselves out of for years. In fact, high school dropouts are expected to earn around $200,000 less over their entire life compared to graduates, according to DoSomething.org. On a lighter note, the United States Census Bureau has stated in 2017 that 90 percent of their population age 25 and older actually have high school diplomas, or in other words, every 90 people out of 100 have a high school diploma; Florida saw an 82.3 percent high school graduation rate of the 2016 to 2017 school year.
Another alternative is a GED, also known as General Education Development, General Education Diploma and High School Equivalency Certificate. Simply put, a GED is a series of tests that if scored high enough, can show that your knowledge is in line with a high school diploma.
Charter schools are very similar in nature to alternative high schools. However, charter schools are for all grades while the latter only covers middle school and high school. The message is not that different: an environment for specialized learning that public school does not always offer, with an emphasis on parents leading an active role in their child’s learning. The number of students enrolled in charter schools during the 2015-2016 school year was about 3 million, nearly doubling from 1.8 million students just five years before, according to a report from the United States Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. This continuing trend overall has risen from one percent to six percent on a 15 year timeline, between 2000 and 2015.