Many alternative students have been moved out of regular
programming due to a lack of perceived relevance with the traditional
programming of today's secondary education. Without a perception of
importance, these students (who are at-risk for failure) will continue to
have substantial problems.
This is the reason most alternatice programs provide a voactional
component. Training for an occupational skill allows the student to "see"
an importance in learning. Traditionally, supported by a plehtora of
research, these individuals have a less than adequate family life. This
disadvantaged environment doesn't provide them with an experiential
knowledge base which would allow each to perceive an importance in the
traditional programming; they would see a possible reason for learning due
to a long term goal of college and employment.
In my opinion, you must allow each student to feel value and
empowerment. By involving each in decision making, you remove the
entrenched perception of the authoritarian principal. Alternative
schooling can not be a model of the traditional curriculum - it must
provide "alternative" approaches. Let the students make some decisions in
collaboration with the staff and administrative body.