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The Academic Progress of Alternative School Students Transitioning into Comprehensive High Schools


Students with academic or behavioral problems in the comprehensive high school environment frequently enroll in alternative education schools. The San Mateo County Office of Education administers two types of alternative schools: Community Schools, which are generally short-term, voluntary placements for students in need of a smaller, more individualized learning environment, and Court Schools, including a school at juvenile hall and two minimum security camp facilities for students referred by the San Mateo County Probation Department. In this analysis, the Gardner Center examined the transitions made by students from SMCOE court and community schools to Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD), focusing on their ability to complete the school year. Students transitioned from court and community schools to SUHSD a total of 468 times during the 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2007-08 school years; 59% of these students finished the school year in SUHSD. The following characteristics best predicted the likelihood that a student exiting a court or community school finished the school year after entering SUHSD: academic background, placement type, grade-level, and English learner status. Additional strategies for improving the welfare of alternative education students include improving data collection, collaborating across agencies, and increasing accountability.

Suggested Citation:

Gurantz, Oded. (2010). The academic progress of alternative school students transitioning to comprehensive high schools. Stanford, CA: John W. Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities.


Academic Progress of Alt Ed Students Issue Brief.pdf

Academic Progress of Alt Ed Students Snapshot.pdf

Oded Gurantz
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