About the Program:
The term 'alternative education' is used to describe education delivered outside of the traditional school setting. Alternative education programs began to develop in the late 60's and early 70's. Alternative education initiatives developed as parents, students and professionals in the field of education began to realize that new and varied approaches to education for students would better meet the needs of students. The alternative education movement grew exponentially during the 80's and 90's as a direct result of, and in response to, high dropout rates, truancy, school failure, substance abuse, juvenile delinquency and other factors. Alternative education continues to thrive as social problems including school violence and family dysfunction create new challenges for communities across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the nation.
The aim of alternative education is to provide students who did not thrive and succeed in the traditional school setting with another opportunity to receive an education. Most state adopted definitions of alternative education include components such as location, instructional methodology, and desired outcomes.
The program is designed to be completed in two years by taking two courses per semester including summers. The program may be completed earlier by taking additional courses beyond the two per semester, however, participants not completing within seven years may be required to repeat coursework.
The Alternative Education program makes it possible for education professionals to engage in reflective practice while improving teaching and program development skills. The program encourages exploration of methods, research, and epistemologies that focus on both the learner and systemic changes that will benefit all students. Students will develop skills, knowledge, and competencies that will benefit them in their work in alternative and/or regular education settings.
The goal of the Alternative Education program is to prepare graduate students with the knowledge and skill base required to work with at-risk youth in non-traditional school settings. Teachers, social workers, counselors, and administrators in alternative settings, correctional settings, urban schools and regular education settings will find the Masters program to be an asset in their work and of value to the students they serve.
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.
Course Requirements and Elective Options: (Course Descriptions)
Department Requirements 3 credits
ALTE 600 Introduction: Inquiry & Educational Change
Core Requirements 15 credits
ALTE 604 Designing Assessments Using Performance Standards
ALTE 610 Helping Skills in Alternative Education
ALTE 615 Alternative Education: An Introduction to Theory & Practice
ALTE 616 Curriculum Issues in Alternative Education
ALTE 618 Understanding the Role of Cognition & Social Skills in the Classroom
Research Requirements 6 credits
ALTE 692 Reflective Practice and Action Research I
ALTE 694 Reflective Practice and Action Research II
Field Experience Requirements 3 credits
ALTE 695 Advanced Field Experiences
Elective Options/Specialization Areas 9 credits
EDTL 601 Teaching and Learning in an Information Age
EDTL 602 Advanced Instructional Design and Development
ALTE 606 Analysis of Teaching
ALTE 607 Projects, Readings & Case Studies in Alternative Education
ALTE 608 Education Reform
ALTE 609 Classroom Management and Control
ALTE 611 Character Education
ALTE 612 Number and Number Systems and Pedagogy
ALTE 617 Grant Writing
ALTE 625 Investigating Curriculum Issues in Education
ALTE 627 Learning Theory and Practice
ALTE 645 Topics in Urban Education
ALTE 648 Topics in Alternative Education
TOTAL 36 credits
Work effectively with mixed ability groupings of students
Work effectively with at-risk and academically marginal students
Utilize best practice approaches to meeting the needs of students
Use formative and summative assessment techniques to develop and implement an academic and/or behavior plan
Develop and implement curriculum for alternative settings that meets student needs
Assist students with non-academic needs that have impact upon their performance in school
Conduct action research on problems directly related to the issues graduate students face in their classroom or work environment on a daily basis
Work effectively as a team member in serving students
Understand the importance of theoretical underpinnings in their work with students
Understand the transferability of knowledge, skills and abilities from the alternative setting to other work settings
Implement change within an organization
Evaluate student progress on an ongoing basis
Evaluate alternative education program progress
Applying for PA Level II Instructional Certification:
Lock Haven University M.Ed. programs in Teaching & Learning and Alternative Education include 2 courses to address the PDE requirement of 6 specific credit hours in the area of SAS.
The Master of Education program in Alternative Education is fully accredited through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
The program is aligned with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and can assist education professionals prepare for the National Board Certification if so desired. Aside from the certification process the program provides skill and knowledge sets indicative of an accomplished teacher.
This program takes advantage of leading edge technology to deliver the curriculum. Streaming audio, streaming video, threaded discussion, journaling, real-time chat discussions, document sharing and other instructional methods make it possible to create active and engaged learning communities. The discussions are tremendously engaging and the opportunities for learners to explore areas of interest and bring findings back to classmates for discussion, input and feedback are highly valuable to the process.
In addition, techniques including scripting and live chat will be of tremendous value. As a supplement to the technology, we will also be able to structure assignments in a fashion that allows students to audio or video tape behaviors and mail the results to the instructor.
In addition to the individual work, group work can be accomplished in an online environment through document sharing, e-mail, threaded discussion and other capabilities. Teams will have the opportunity to work on projects such as matching curriculum to standards, writing a grant proposal, generating a model for an ideal alternative school based upon best practices, and developing simulations or role plays for social skills modeling.
The Master of Education in Alternative Education can be completed entirely via distance. Students will utilize online experience to participate in doing real projects in real alternative settings as a central and important part of their work.
What Students Are Saying About the Program:
“Lock Haven University's on-line graduate program provided an extraordinarily enjoyable and valuable experience for me academically and professionally. The courses are rigorous, relevant and effectively prepare students for meaningful careers. As Program Manager for Intervention for Transition and Accelerated Alternative Education Schools in Philadelphia, I often draw upon the knowledge and practices I learned in the cutting edge courses designed and facilitated by the caring professors at the university. I am truly proud and grateful to have had the opportunity to attend Lock Haven University and graduate with a Master's Degree in Education.”
Joan Reinhart, 2009 Graduate
Program Manager for Intervention for Transition and Accelerated Alternative Education Schools in Philadelphia
“The Master of Education in Alternative Education program at Lock Haven University afforded me rigorous academic challenges coupled with cutting edge technology and exceptional faculty. The program has fully prepared me to excel in the high school classroom, as well as in my doctoral work. The faculty members truly care for their students and their success. I highly recommend the program to any educator, or individual aspiring to continued academic pursuits.”
Justin Reese, 2007 Graduate
High School Social Studies Teacher
I am thrilled with the MEd. in Alternative Education program offered at Lock Haven University. I work, I spend time with my family, I live in California, and I still get to benefit from this incredible program. The online format provides incredible flexibility and access to my professors. My courses give me the knowledge I need to improve myself and empower the at-risk students with whom I work. Every assignment has sharpened my skills as an administrator and teacher. I recommend this program to anybody who works with At-risk Youth and wants to improve their life and still have a life."
Redwood, City CA
Enrolled in MEd Alternative Education Program Spring 2007