In 2000, the General
Assembly asked the Vermont Agency of Education to conduct a study of Vermont's
alternative schools and programs. This request was included in H. 270 - An Act Relating
to Supporting Safe Learning Environments in Vermont Schools.
Following a competitive
bid process, the contract for the study was awarded to a research team at the University
of Vermont headed by Drs. Ray Proulx and Susan Hasazi. This report is the result
of that study.
The need for high-quality
alternative programs is clearly demonstrated in the report. More than 1,500 students
are already enrolled in alternative programs. Of those, 52 percent are special education
eligible and 48 percent are considered at risk of academic failure. The report also
shows that the number of alternative programs in Vermont (now at 97) has grown by
40 percent since 1998.
The need for these
alternative programs will continue to grow in the years ahead. This report will help
to serve as a springboard for school districts and regions to develop programs that
will meet the needs of our students as efforts are made to increase attendance and
graduation rates within our schools.