Program Curriculum

The curriculum is a rigorous combination of theory, practice and research courses. All curriculum has been developed anew and includes the most recent theoretical advances, proven best practices, promising practices and quantitative, qualitative and action research approaches. Substantive education reform is a critical and central element of the curriculum. 

Students desire and will participate in a rigorous program that includes the most recent theory, practice, and fresh approaches to working with children to improve education outcomes. The utilitarian approach of the program assures that it will have immediate impact on the schools and programs as teachers take to their classrooms the issues and practices discussed and researched in the degree sequence.

The diversity of alternative education programs and program approaches in the schools is staggering. Alternative education may include but not be limited to disruptive student programming, vocational-technical programs, school-to-work programs, charter schools, and juvenile corrections. While our proposed program has a decided emphasis on working with the at-risk children, youth and families, we also make a concerted effort to include discussion about other alternative schools/programs and best practices in education regardless of the specific setting.

Courses are arranged within the curriculum so that foundational courses are presented first. Scaffolding the curriculum permits students to continuously build upon previously acquired knowledge and skills. The curriculum allows for breadth and depth through this approach, which includes a 24-credit core and a 12-credit elective category. 

The core begins with a course required of all graduate students in the department- Introduction: Inquiry and Educational Change. Theory and Practice, Curriculum issues and Assessment provide a solid understanding of issues that impact every alternative education program. Students also develop helping skills and learn how to teach cognitive and social skills to students. Students will also take two courses in research. The first course introduces the student to principles of quantitative and qualitative research. The second research course will require a project, often designed to resolve existing classroom issues or problems or to focus on other relevant issues in professional practice. Woven throughout the curriculum sequence are additional opportunities for students to conduct relevant research projects. 

Breadth and depth are enhanced through electives that permit highly motivated students to investigate areas including but not limited to corrections education, learning theory, advanced curriculum issues, character education, analysis of teaching, and school to work.