Alternative Learning Programs

Alternative Learning Programs and Schools (ALPS) are safe orderly, caring and inviting learning environments that assist students with overcoming challenges that may place them "at-risk" of academic failure. The goal of each program and school is to provide a rigorous education while developing individual student strengths, talents, and interests.

What is an Alternative Learning Program?

What is an Alternative Learning Program?

The 1995 North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation requiring that the Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) to evaluate all alternative learning programs across the state, without regard to funding source. An alternative learning program is defined as:

a school or program that serves students at any level, serves suspended or expelled students, serves students whose learning styles are better served in an alternative program... or provides individualized programs outside of a standard classroom setting in a caring atmosphere in which students learn the skills necessary to redirect their lives. ALPs are limited to programs that also meet the following criteria:

  • Provide the primary instruction for selected at-risk students outside the standard classroom,
  • Enroll students for a designated period of time (not drop-in),
  • Offer course credit or grade level promotion credit in core academic areas, and/or
  • Assist the student in meeting requirements for graduation.
Statutory Requirements of the SBE and the LEAs Definitions Approved by the NCSBE (Jan 2000)

Definitions Approved by the NCSBE (Jan 2000)

Student at risk
A student at risk is a young person who, because of a wide range of individual, personal, financial, familial, social, behavioral or academic circumstances, may experience school failure or other unwanted outcomes unless interventions occur to reduce the risk factors. Circumstances which often place students at risk may include but are not limited to:

  • not meeting state/local proficiency standards
  • grade retention
  • unidentified or inadequately addressed learning needs
  • alienation from school life
  • unchallenging curricula and/or instruction
  • tardiness and/or poor school attendance
  • negative peer influence
  • unmanageable behavior
  • substance abuse and other health risk behaviors
  • abuse and neglect
  • inadequate parental, family, and/or school support, and
  • limited English proficiency

Alternative Learning Programs
Alternative Learning Programs are defined as services for students at risk of truancy, academic failure, behavior problems, and/or dropping out of school. Such services should be designed to better meet the needs of students who have not been successful in the traditional school setting.

Alternative Learning Programs serve students at any level who are

  • suspended and/or expelled,
  • at risk of participation in juvenile crime,
  • have dropped out and desire to return to school,
  • have a history of truancy,
  • are returning from juvenile justice settings or psychiatric hospitals,and
  • whose learning styles are better served in an alternative setting.

Alternative learning programs provide individualized programs outside of a standard classroom setting in a caring atmosphere in which students learn the skills necessary to redirect their lives.

An alternative learning program must

  • provide the primary instruction for selected at-risk students,
  • enroll students for a designated period of time, usually a minimum of one academic grading period, and
  • offer course credit or grade-level promotion credit in core academic areas.

Alternative learning programs may also address

  • behavioral or emotional problems that interfere with adjustments to or benefiting from the regular education classroom,
  • provide smaller classes and/or student/teacher ratios,
  • provide instruction beyond regular school hours,
  • provide flexible scheduling, and/or
  • assist students in meeting graduation requirements other than course credits.

Alternative learning programs for at risk students typically serve students in an alternative school or alternative program within the regular school.

Alternative School
An alternative School is one option for an alternative learning program. It serves at-risk students and has an organizational designation based on the DPI assignment of an official school code.

Development, Implementation, and Operations

Development, Implementation, and Operations

ALP Standards
This document provides standards and effective practices for the development and implementation of Alternative Learning Programs/ Schools. 

Alternative Learning Programs: Proposal to Implement an Alternative Learning Program or School 

Policies & Procedures for Alternative Learning Programs and Schools Grades K-12 
Policies and guidelines associated with the establishment and maintenance of effective alternative learning programs. 

Tools

Tools

ALP Monitoring Instrument 
The ALP Monitoring Instrument is based on the state ALP Standards and is used to guide ALP monitoring visits conducted by the Department of Public Instruction.

Monitoring Indicators 
ALP standards quality indicators instrument for site visit monitoring.

ALP Student Data Roster
Instructions for collecting and reporting data for the student data roster.