Allegan Alternative High School (AAHS) was established over thirty years ago to service the at-risk youth of Allegan. Today it has the highest concentration of at-risk youth in the county, primarily serving Allegan Public Schools, but also receiving students from numerous other districts. AAHS serves approximately 90-100 students a trimester and approximately 140-160 students a year. Our school is fluid with up to 20% of our student body moving in and out of school due to life circumstances and choices. 100% of our student population qualifies for free or reduced lunch.
Allegan Alternative High School provides our students “Another Choice” and “Another Chance” to earn their high school diploma. Students describe our school as having a “family atmosphere” where they are provided one on one help, smaller class sizes, and a safe, caring environment. Most students who attend AAHS have been unsuccessful in a traditional school setting. The reasons our students were not successful vary from student to student, but include students who struggle with poverty and homelessness, students who have experienced trauma, students who are the primary caretaker of others, students who are parents or expecting, students who struggle with substance abuse issues and/or are involved in the court system.
These obstacles that students face outside of the classroom have created immense barriers to learning on the inside. Student brains are so occupied with current struggle or existing trauma that there just isn’t always room for much else. This often leaves students with difficulty concentrating, regulating their emotions, or controlling their thoughts and actions in moments that feel overwhelming. So, we shifted our teaching to focus on the entire student – mind, body, and spirit. Our aim is to help build both the soft skills and mental skills essential to be successful, lifelong learners in and out of the classroom.