Alternative School Status Application

Alternative School Status Application Guidance Document

Alternative schools are defined as schools that meet the Arizona State Board of Education approved definition (updated 02/28/2014) as schools whose sole and clearly-stated mission is to serve specific populations of at-risk students.


  1. A district school has adopted a mission statement that clearly identifies its purpose is to serve a specific student population that will benefit from an alternative school setting or a charter school that expressly states in their charter that its purpose is to serve a specific student population that will benefit from an alternative school setting.
  2. The educational program and related student support services of the school must align with the mission and charter (if applicable) of the school.
  3. Schools offering secondary instruction for academic credit used to fulfill the Arizona State Board of Education graduation requirements (in part or in full) must offer a high school diploma of graduation.
  4. The school will receive current year state assessment scores for their students.
  5. The school must intend to serve students in one or more of the following categories that reflect an alternative school setting necessary for these students:
  • Students who have a documented history of disruptive behavior issues.
  • Students who have dropped out of school and are now returning.
  • Students in poor academic standing as demonstrated by being at least one year behind on grade level performance or academic credits.
  • Students who are primary caregivers or are financially responsible for dependents and, therefore, may require a flexible school schedule.
  • Students who are adjudicated.
  • Students who are wards of the state and are in need of an alternative school setting

      6.  All new and converted schools shall be audited for student enrollment verification prior to confirmation of alternative status. All other alternative schools will be subject to an  audit of enrollment counts as deemed necessary by the Arizona Department of Education and/or the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools.


  • Existing alternative schools must recertify each fiscal year.
  • Schools must fill out the online application and upload their mission statement.
  • Schools must include total enrollment of students as of October 1 of the current school year and the number of students by category based on their initial enrollment. (List a student in one category only for online application).
  • Schools must select ‘Credit Recovery” to be eligible for the Title I exemption from the Focus school criteria for traditional schools.

Alternative status is granted by application to the Arizona Department of Education and applies to the state and federal accountability systems.

Districts and charter holders (LEAs) must apply for alternative school status for their schools by filling out and submitting the application below. Please see the guidance document below to further clarify and provide examples of how a school might verify student enrollment in any one category.

For school year 2013-2014 accountability season, schools will be notified by May 31, 2014 of the school’s status.

If you have questions regarding this form or require assistance, please email [email protected].