Guidelines for Alternative Education Settings

Guidelines for Alternative Education Settings

Guidelines for Continued or Discontinued Student Placement

Local education agencies (LEAs) must have a clear written policy regarding student placement in an alternative education setting to include the following:

Prior to Referral

Prior to consideration of alternative placement, the following need to take place:

  • A review of the student’s academic, health and behavioral records including planning and placement team (PPT) or 504 records, student success plans (SSP), and the efficacy of tier 1, 2, and 3 interventions; 
  • Assurance that Child Find requirements have been complied with;
  • Students may be referred from the following sources:
    • Parent
    • Student (self or peer)
    • School or district

Entrance Criteria

The LEA Board of Education is required to approve the development of alternative education settings to ensure the following:

  • The alternative education program/school has a transparent and defined purpose, including a description of the types of students that may benefit most from the program/school environment. 
  • Alternative education schools and programs develop clear and objective criteria for admission consistent with stated program guidelines that are provided to students and their parents/guardians at the time of admittance into the alternative setting.


The student and parents/guardians are provided with an accurate and comprehensive description of the alternative education delivered.  There are culturally and linguistically responsive family and student engagement practices regarding all aspects of decision-making as it relates to placement.  The team will ensure that parents/guardians know and understand how the alternative education placement will benefit their child.

Determination of enrollment is made by the student support team involved in the placement, which includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Parent or family representative 
  • Student, if in secondary school 
  • Appropriate representative of the alternative environment 
  • Student’s teachers 
  • School administrator (sending school) 
  • If the student has an identified disability, special education administrator or designee 
  • PPT/504 Team

If there is disagreement with the placement decision, there must be a clear process written in policy by the LEA Board of Education delineating a family’s right of appeal.

The entrance criteria and procedures are explicitly written in each alternative education program/school handbook and provided to parents/guardians and students in the language of the home at the time of admittance into the alternative setting.