ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION

OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma is one of two states that have met five of the seven model policy elements.

Oklahoma law states that alternative programs are for students who are at risk of high school failure for a variety of reasons, which may include academic deficiency, behavioral difficulties, excessive absences, pregnancy or parenting, adjustment problems, or juvenile justice involvement.

All programs must incorporate 17 research-based components, including an intake and screening process to determine eligibility for students, appropriately certified teachers, collaboration with state and local agencies, individualized instruction, life skills instruction, clear and measurable program goals, and a graduation plan for each student.

At the same time, Oklahoma's alternative education policy is designed to give school districts flexibility. Since 1996, Oklahoma has encouraged innovation through its Statewide Alternative Education Academy grant program. The 250 programs across the state are widely varied in structure and serve more than 10,000 students each year.

The state's accountability system is tailored specifically for alternative schools and programs, evaluating alternative schools on each of the 17 criteria.

As one of these criteria, Oklahoma encourages home visits, parental training, and strong collaborative partnerships to support the mental health needs of students.

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