Alternative education original purpose, to serve the needs of students whose education require the use of innovative and comprehensive techniques and methods, is still a worthwhile goal (De La Ossa, 2005). Those in need of alternative education can find help by attending alternative education schools, attending special alternative education programs, working with a mentor, or working with a tutor.
Many communities have established alternative education as part of the public school system or as part of the community college system. Individuals still in high school that have special education needs find help through placement in the program by the school principals and counselors in partnership with the student’s parents. This method of obtaining help usually is the result of behavioral issues that develop in the classroom. The students go through an evaluation process and receive help with behavior and academics that meet their needs as an individual.
Some communities use the community college system to assist students above high school age to receive help with his or her alternative education needs. Many times, these programs are voluntary but require a commitment from the prospective student to look beyond getting a GED to continuing his or her education by pursuing an Associate degree and in some cases enrolling in a four-year degree program. This approach recognize that addressing the alternative education needs of all age groups is important and may result in a better educated workforce that may improve the community economy.
Churches are also a good resource that provides help for addressing the community alternative education needs. Some churches offers GED, tutoring classes, vocational training, and basic life skill training to assist those struggling students with additional help with their education. The help students get from churches has the additional benefit of improving relationship skills. Building a relationship is important when helping students who have special needs therefore, a mentor or tutor is another source for obtaining help in getting alternative education. A mentor can be a good source because he or she can provide that support system a student needs when the challenge of obtaining an education materializes. Mentors can provide the student with the hope he or she is not getting elsewhere. A mentor can influence the student to strive for excellence once he or she has built a relationship of trust and respect with the mentee.
A tutor is a good resource for obtaining an alternative education because they help prepare the student in many ways. Tutors who are subject matter experts can help the struggling student explore different ways to approach learning a subject. One on one help opens up avenues for the student to explore a subject better than trying to learn the subject by oneself. Students who have a tutor can get help with study, test taking, and learning strategies that will equip them for success.
Other ways of obtaining alternative education is through writing and publishing. Students who learn to express themselves through writing and publishing their work may be able to improve his or her self-esteem, self-image, and social identity (Jacobi, 2008). Sometimes it takes out of the box thinking to help the more difficult cases to obtain the alternative education they need. Many factors contribute to the need for alternative education but the rekindling of the human spirit is one of the best ways to get help obtaining alternative education.
De la Ossa, P. (2005). “Hear my voice:” Alternative high school students’ perceptions and Implications for school change. American
Secondary Education, 34(1), 24-39. Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global database.
Jacobi, T. (2008). Writing for change: Engaging juveniles through alternative literacy education. The Journal of Correctional Education,
59(2), 71-93. Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global database.