Alternate education programs focus on educational, social and emotional issues for students whose needs are not being met in a traditional school program. An alternate education program provides its support through differentiated instruction, specialized program delivery and enhanced counselling services based on students’ needs.
Students who attend alternate education programs are often the most vulnerable population in the school system. Alternate education programs have disproportionate numbers of children and youth in care, Aboriginal students, children and youth living in poverty or the street, gifted children who have difficulty in social situations, children and youth involved in drugs, alcohol and the sex trade, and youth with mental health concerns. Alternate education programs offer an opportunity for these vulnerable and at-risk students to experience success.
The relevant sections of the School Act (PDF) with respect to the alternate education programs include the following:
The preamble to the School Act states:
WHEREAS it is the goal of a democratic society to ensure that all its members receive an education that enables them to become literate, personally fulfilled and publicly useful, thereby increasing the strength and contributions to the health and stability of that society;
AND WHEREAS the purpose of the British Columbia school system is to enable all learners to become literate, to develop their individual potential and to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to contribute to a healthy, democratic and pluralistic society and a prosperous and sustainable economy;
(1) For the purposes of carrying out its powers, functions and duties under this Act, a board has the power and capacity of a natural person of full capacity.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), a board may, subject to this Act and the regulations, do all or any of the following:
(c) make rules
(iv) respecting the establishment, operation, administration and management of
(A) schools operated by the board and educational programs provided by the board
Alternate education programs must satisfy certain requirements to be deemed a Type Three facility. If the programs meet those requirements, then their students qualify for 1.0 FTE (full time equivalent) funding to the school district.
To be Type Three facilities, Alternate education programs must focus on the educational, social and emotional issues for students whose needs are not being met in a traditional school program. These education programs provide support to students through differentiated instruction, specialized program delivery and enhanced counselling services based on students’ needs.
Schools of Choice (Fine Arts Schools, French Immersion, etc.) and Provincial Resource Programs are not considered Type 3 facilities and are funded in a different manner.
In addition, alternate education programs must follow the requirements listed in the procedures section below.
If the programs meets alternate education program requirements and procedures listed here, then Boards of Education receive full 1.0 FTE funding for students enrolled in those programs
Boards receive per-course based funding for adult students and school-aged students who have graduated.
English Language Learner, Aboriginal Education, and Special Needs funding are also provided if criteria are met for those respective policies. Funding amounts are published annually in the Ministry of Education and Child Care Operating Grants Manual.
Each Alternate Education Program will have: