Overview of Alternative Schools and Education Programs

Focus Area: American Indian Health

Category: Report

Date Published: 2015

Alternative education programs in Montana are defined as “A ‘restructured’ academic program to serve at-risk students and operated within an accredited public school.” Twenty-eight alternative education programs that fit this definition currently exist in Montana, though there is no official tracking system for these programs, and local schools districts have full discretion over how these operate. The students served by alternative education programs report elevated rates of health risk behaviors, particularly related to mental health and substance abuse. However, alternative education programs in Montana are chronically underfunded and lack the staff and training needed to holistically address student health needs. This MHCF report examines the health issues facing these high-risk youth, and include some concerning statistics. 

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