Alternative Education Programs: An In-Depth Analysis of an Individualized Learning Experience

Lafferty, Robin
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University of Guelph

Alternative education programs are becoming increasingly available in North America, yet they are understudied. In-depth research that addresses the structure of alternative education programs was undertaken to understand if these programs are useful and, if they are, why they are beneficial to students. This research addresses current gaps in the sociology of education literature with respect to understanding the school culture and school climate of alternative high schools within a school board in Southern Ontario. Findings show that student success is primarily defined and measured individually since alternative students are deemed at-risk youth who have a wide range of academic and non-academic needs. Symbolic interactionism, as well as a class-based analysis, to some extent, is useful to explain how student success is defined and measured among alternative students.

Alternative education programs, Structure, Beneficial to students, Alternative High Schools, Symbolic interactionism