Guidelines for Alternative Education Settings

Guidelines for Alternative Education Settings

Definition of Alternative Education

PA 15-133 defines alternative education as “a school or program maintained and operated by a local or regional board of education that is offered to students in a nontraditional educational setting and addresses the social, emotional, behavioral and academic needs of such students.”

Students enrolled in alternative education benefit from the same academic standards for all students in Connecticut, within a different or unique setting, which addresses barriers found in traditional settings.  Alternative education can support student graduation by building positive relationships, focusing on students’ individual strengths, talents, social/emotional/behavioral needs and providing academic rigor and cultural relevancy of instruction.  Alternative education settings may be responsive to student needs by providing unique programming, nontraditional hours, or hybrid experiences for students.  Students enrolled may include those whose academic, social/emotional and/or behavioral needs are not being met by the traditional program or school.

For purposes of the guidelines, alternative education does not include private schools, home schooling, School Choice (e.g., lottery based programs such as magnet, charter etc.), adult education programs, approved private special education programs (APSEPs), gifted and talented programs and schools or programs within the CT Technical High School system unless otherwise indicated. 

Alternative education may function within a single school or be a program affiliated with one or more schools or districts.  Programs must be affiliated with at least one district with a code already assigned by CSDE.  Additionally, a specific organization code within the CSDE data system is established for all alternative programs under the purview of the district.  Alternative education settings that operate as self-contained public schools in the state must comply with laws and regulations that guide the operation of schools in the state and must be assigned an organization code by the department.