Alternative schools are defined as schools that meet the Arizona State Board of Education approved definition (updated 02/28/2014) as schools whose sole and clearly-stated mission is to serve specific populations of at-risk students. Arizona statute supports 6th through 12th grade alternative school programs for accountability purposes. It is the intent of the Arizona Department of Education to be in alignment with this statute (Section C of 15-796).
The school must intend to serve students in one or more of the following categories that reflect an alternative school setting necessary for these students:
- Students who have a documented history of disruptive behavior issues.
- Students who have dropped out of school and are now returning.
- Students in poor academic standing as demonstrated by being at least one year behind on grade level performance or academic credits.
- Students who are primary caregivers or are financially responsible for dependents and, therefore, may require a flexible school schedule.
- Students who are adjudicated.
- Students who are wards of the state and are in need of an alternative school setting