Halstrom Academy in California recently posted a blog about the benefits of alternative schools for some students. While this is written for high school age and younger students it can also be applicable to your students as they begin searching out their post-secondary educational options. Here are some of the key points from the article which should be of interest. JB – LINK for Counselors
According to Wikipedia, “An alternative school is an educational establishment with a curriculum and methods that are nontraditional.” The key word here is nontraditional. Any school outside of the beaten path fits within this category.
Alternative schools fight a negative stigma because the term “alternative school” is often synonymous with “failure” or “drop-out” school. This is an unfortunate bundling with the many types of schools with those for at-risk students that are themselves battling the stigma of failure. In her article Synthesis of Research / Alternative Schools: The State of the Art, education scholar Mary Anne Raywid examines different types of alternative schools and their effectiveness on the academic success of their students. She ultimately concludes that the methods applied at some alternative schools can be beneficial to both students who are struggling in school as well as students who are excelling. Alternative schools provide a different type of social and learning environment from their traditional counterparts and some even implement programmatic innovations. She reviewed multiple sets of data and found that “one of the most extensive studies of alternative schools to date concluded that its recommendations pertained equally to schools for youngsters who are and are not at risk. The recommendations would improve most schools.” Rather than just being filled with problem students, alternative schools address failures on the part of schools to adjust to the specific needs of students.
Every alternative school is different and parents should explore the different options offered by alternative schools to determine if such a school is right for their student. An example would be Halstrom Academy’s instruction which is based on the research of Dr. Benjamin Bloom from The University of Chicago who discovered students who learn with the one-to-one interaction outperform their counterparts in a traditional classroom by 98 percent. With a smaller setting, teachers are able to throw out the one-size-fits-all and help students create a customizable plan. With parental involvement, Halstrom’s team of experts works with students to set goals and develop a customized learning plan with a diverse curriculum that fits each student’s unique needs.
Here is a link to Haltrom’s blog – http://www.halstromacademy.org/blog/081017.html
There are many paths to success for your students. Keeping an open mind about all the paths available to them is what can make your job as a Counselor so rewarding!