Alternative schools: A synthesis of state-level policy and research

Camilla A. Lehr, Chee Soon Tan, Jim Ysseldyke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


The number of students enrolled in alternative settings for youth at risk of school failure has increased significantly in recent years. Students with disabilities, primarily students with emotional/behavioral disabilities and learning disabilities, are included in the population of students who are being educated in these settings. This article provides a synthesis of information gathered through (a) a comprehensive review of legislation and policy on alternative schools/programs from 48 states and (b) a national survey about alternative schools and students served completed by key contacts at state departments of education. Information is organized and discussed with regard to state-level definitions of alternative schools, enrollment criteria, school characteristics, students served, staffing, curriculum and instruction, and outcomes. In addition, information about the provision of special education in these settings and the extent to which students with disabilities enroll is included.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-32
Number of pages14
JournalRemedial and Special Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Alternative schools legislation
  • Alternative schools policy
  • Alternative schools practices

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