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School Category

School Category (School Type): School Directory

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This data element records the classification of a school based on its curriculum concentration. This includes whether a school provides primary/secondary education, special education, career and technical education, or another category.

Submitted Response Description
Regular school A regular school is a public elementary/secondary school that does not focus primarily on career and technical, special, or alternative education, although it may provide these programs in addition to a regular curriculum.
Special education school A special education school is a public elementary/secondary school that focuses primarily on serving the educational needs of students with disabilities (IDEA) and which adapts curriculum, materials, or instruction for these students.
Career and technical education school (Vocational education school) A career and technical education school is a public elementary/secondary school that focuses primarily on providing secondary students with an occupationally relevant or career–related curriculum, including formal preparation for technical or professional occupations.
Alternative education school

An alternative education school is a public school which:

  1. Addresses the needs of students that typically cannot be met in a regular school program and is designed to meet the needs of students with academic difficulties, students with discipline problems, or both students with academic difficulties and discipline problems.
  2. Falls outside the categories of regular, special education, or career and technical education.

See the FAQ below for more information about the alternative education school classification.

USES: This data element is part of the School Directory and the School Modification form. It is part of the EDFacts Common Core of Data and NCES school search.

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Collection

School Directory 

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Related Validations & Data Elements

 

 

FAQs, Details, and Points to Note

1. What is an alternative education school? Alternative education schools serve students whose needs cannot be met in a traditional classroom setting. These may include students who:

  • Are at risk of academic failure or dropping out of school
  • Have been suspended or expelled or are at risk of being suspended or expelled
  • Are pregnant or parenting
  • In dropout recovery or credit recovery
  • Are juvenile offenders or “delinquents”
  • Engage in high-risk health behaviors
  • Are disruptive or exhibit behavioral or discipline problems
  • Are chronically truant or absent
  • Have health problems that prevent attendance at a regular school

Alternative education schools may be sited in locations other than a traditional school building such as hospitals, mental health centers, jails, or juvenile detention centers. However, a school should NOT be classified as an alternative school solely because it is a residential institution. If it serves the general student population and not one of the student groups listed above, a school should be classified on the basis of the curriculum it offers as a regular, special education, or vocational school.

Schools that primarily serve children with disabilities should NOT be classified as alternative education schools; they should be classified as Special Education Schools.

Charter, magnet and virtual schools should NOT be classified as alternative schools solely because of their status as charter, magnet or virtual schools. Unless they serve a particular student population, they should be classified on the basis of the curriculum they offer as regular, special education, or vocational schools.

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