Alternative Learning

State-Approved Alternative Programs Definitions

Area Learning Centers (ALC): An area learning center provides comprehensive educational services to enrolled secondary students throughout the year. This could include a daytime school within a school or separate site for both high school and middle school level students. Students must be at-risk as defined by statute. Students served are off-track for graduation and are working towards completing their graduation requirements. In addition to day programs, these centers provide extended learning opportunities for students to make up lost credits or to prepare for graduation tests. ALCs serve students from more than one district. ALCs must also provide services to middle level students, either at a separate site or within their school. ALCs can apply to provide Targeted Services to elementary age students in after school and summer programs.

Alternative Learning Programs (ALP): An Alternative Learning Program is very similar to an ALC, but may choose to only serve students within their district, and they can determine the grade levels they wish to serve. They are not eligible for Targeted Services.

Contract Alternative: these are day programs that contract with a District to operate alternative programs. They currently only exist in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

Independent Study: Students must be at least 16 years old to participate in Independent Study. There is a separate application process for this program. You must be an ALC or an ALP to apply for this.

Targeted Services are generally after school and summer programs, although they may also be offered before school and on Saturdays. Students must be in grades kindergarten through eighth grade.

Only sites that have approval to run Area Learning Centers, along with a middle level component, are allowed to offer Targeted Services. There is a separate application process for Targeted services. These after school and summer school programs target areas of need for students and work on academic and social skills that students will need to graduate.