Are you in that stage where you wish to focus more on personality and development rather than sticking to theoretical knowledge? If yes, then alternative schools are for you. Alternative school programs provide a different approach to education than traditional schooling methods. For example, some alternative schools offer practical knowledge based on technology and science, whereas others focus on extracurriculars, such as music, art, dance, and more. So, if any parent or student is planning to get into alternative schools or has trouble choosing the right school, a detailed guide is given below.

Why choose alternative high schools?

Figuring out the need for an alternative school should be the number one priority of students and parents. There can be a plethora of reasons for choosing the other school. A few of them are listed below.

  • Often getting bored in traditional schools, a search hunt has started for another high school.
  • Search for more guidance and support while indulging in sports or other extracurricular activities.
  • Having difficulties while sitting for longer durations in traditional classrooms.
  • Unable to focus on theoretical approach. Instead, the students want some practical explanations or demonstrations.
  • Lack of networking in traditional schools. Issues with classmates, friends, or teachers. Continuous bullying by teammates or seniors.
  • Continuous underperformance, lack of concentration, fewer grades, and more.
  • The level of education provided in the traditional school is unsatisfactory.
  • The student is not interested in the subjects provided by the school.

Whatever be the reason, if it is strong and valid enough, then there is a definite need to switch to an alternative high school. Before making a decision, understanding the differences between a traditional and an alternative high school is a must. What are they?

Knowing the difference between regular and alternative high schools

There can be large differences between a regular and alternative school. What are those? Let’s get to know them.

  • Extended teaching methods – Teachers are limited to bookish language or educational practices. They emphasize creativity and make students interact with the class. Students may no longer get bored taking notes all day long.
  • Flexible schedules and graduation criteria – Subjects are not enforced on students in alternative high schools. Students can choose the subjects based on their interests. Moreover, these schools provide classes at night for job doers and many children.
  • Duration of the class – The class duration is smaller than usual to focus on learning more and pay attention to every concept taught in the class.
  • Focus on the overall development of the student – Alternative high school, like Discovery Alternative High School, addresses students’ needs related to academics and sports. These schools also have frequent counseling sessions to support students and encourage them in their careers.
  • Different evaluation methods – Various alternative high school programs do not rely on giving grades or scores to students. Instead, they give written evaluations to students to work upon them. In addition, a few high schools offer placements or internships to bright minds rather than good grades.

A wide range of alternative high schools to choose from

There are various alternative high schools to choose from. Here is the list that can assist you in selecting the best alternative:

● Charter schools
1970 was the year when the first charter schools were established. These are publicly funded and possess the same educational standards as local public schools. However, they have a flexible curriculum, know-how, and what they teach, and their instructors include a different and innovative teaching style. As a result, they are very popular regarding the admission process and level of involvement that can benefit various students.

● Specialized high schools
These alternative high schools offer intensive learning courses and focus more on music, art, dancing, singing, and theater than STEM-focused curricula. Therefore, these schools seem to be the best options for students who seek a decisive career path. Furthermore, these schools are selective while enrolling students and have intense admission procedures.

● Boarding schools
Often students do not want to live with their parents while studying. Moreover, some students feel they need a change while getting into a perfect college. Therefore, they look for boarding schools that allow them to stay there during the school year, excluding winter or spring breaks. These also provide financial aid and possess vast educational excellence.

● Home schools
When the discovery of alternative high schools is going on, students find homeschooling to complete their education while staying at home. Usually, a tutor or parent guides the student to complete their education. They also provide flexible scheduling and studying hours. Parents play a crucial role in this type of alternative school. They may find it challenging to look after their students as newly-made parents, whereas motivated parents may not have such trouble. Parents are free to build new experiences with their children and vice versa.

● Private schools
Private schools are easier to locate as they can be found in various parts of the country. While choosing them, double-check the financial status of the family. However, some offer scholarships and financial assistance. Students choose private schools due to a wide range of available courses, advanced jobs, learning opportunities, and better career prospects. Moreover, they have strict rules and regulations that benefit the students.

● Vo-tech programs
Vocational-technical schools offer alternative high school programs for which students become skilled by learning financial services, carpentry, culinary arts, cosmetology, computer programming, and many more technological studies. Some schools are devoted to technology, whereas some portion to educational standards.

● Cyber charter schools
These schools bridge the gap between home schools and charter schools. Students experience schooling like home schools and get an education like charter schools. Technology is also integrated into their curriculum. They have a more customizable schedule, certified teachers and classmates, and allow students to get habituated to both schooling models.

● Texas Virtual Schools Network
Texas Virtual Schools Network came into existence in the year 2009. These possess collaborative, interactive, mentor-led online learning classes and certified teachers. Moreover, Texas Alternative High Schools are also popular among many high school students for their alternative high school programs. Their programs are affordable, provide a wide range of diploma courses to choose from, and the payments are easier to do online.

● High School Equivalency Program
Students above 16 who fear not graduating from high school can get into these programs and earn a diploma. Circumstantially, these students can gain employment and begin post-secondary education and training.

Making the right choice in alternative high schools

After discovering alternative high schools, choosing the right alternative high school is crucial. Are there any specifications for selecting the best amongst the best? Well, there is no rule of thumb for this condition. But the student has to make sure the chosen alternative high school fits their learning style and personality. If attending an alternative high school is not working in the pockets, it will never benefit. Moreover, it will create more tension and stress. So how do you choose? Here are the steps that might assist:

● Find out the reasons why you want to switch to alternative high schools
Identify reasons why the current school is not working for you. Note down all the possible reasons on pen and paper. All of them. Whether it is because of new friends or boring teaching methods in a traditional high school, or you need more guidance. Everything! Even if you are not sure why you want to switch to a new alternative high school, this way, it is clear. Even one can figure out whether they need an alternative high school or not.

● Prepare a list of what your new alternative high school must have
After making a list of why not to choose the traditional high school, prepare another one stating the qualities you are looking for in the new high school. They must have fresh points, different from the ones covered previously. Perhaps you want a big classroom, more gaming activities, or are willing to join an internship/job, or anything.

● Research and finalize your new alternative high school
After preparing the second list, time to make the third and final one. Start researching for the right high school among various alternative high schools. Take cost into consideration as well. Look for schools offering financial aid and scholarships. Some may be wanting to stay separate from the home, so look for boarding high schools. Talk to teachers and parents and seek their guidance. Speak your opinion and then finalize the best.

What’s next to be done?

That’s it! The high school selection is finally done. Many high schools can change the lives of normal students. They can be great and better than traditional schools. Why? Because they use non-traditional methods to teach students and accommodate students the same way a traditional school will do. Students can attend an alternative high school due to various reasons. But the main reason is they are unhappy with their ongoing conventional school. Moreover, alternative high schools allow students to work part-time for class credits, engage in extracurriculars, assign grades for everything innovative they do, and much more. At last, if the decision has been made, make the best out of it and reveal your real potential.