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What’s an alternative student, anyway? Here’s how we help at-risk students

Primavera is the largest high school in Arizona serving about 25,000 students each year. Even so, there are still many who are unfamiliar with online school and how it works. That’s why we decided to start addressing major questions to help people become familiar with who we are and how we can help you.

Approximately 70% of Primavera’s population is alternative students. Primavera attracts students with diverse needs and unique backgrounds because of its personalized approach. Each year, almost 1,000 students earn their accredited high school diploma online.

Many are unfamiliar with the term “alternative student.” Here’s the definition and how we can help you if you fall into that category.

What is an alternative student?

An alternative student is one with varying circumstances who as a result, needs personalized attention in order to succeed. Below are a few types of students who qualify as “alternative,” according to the Arizona Department of Education:

  • 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.

Among the alternative students, stats are as follows:

Primavera serves a number of students who are not “alternative” by definition, but have unique needs. This includes:

  • Students with illnesses that make attending a physical classroom difficult
  • Students with a 504/IEP Plan
  • Students who work or have family responsibilities
  • Students who are involved in extracurricular activities such as sports or music and need a flexible schedule

How Primavera Helps Alternative Students

Online school offers more flexibility than a brick-and-mortar traditional classroom. Students are required to complete assignments and lessons on time, but when and where they choose to do so is up to them. Offering education online empowers students who are ill, have a child, need to work or have other responsibilities during the day. Without this flexibility, many of these students would drop out.

But no student is successful alone–it takes support from teachers and guidance counselors. Primavera strives to offer constant support to every student. Let’s take a look at it:

Personalized Instruction Through Primavera

Primavera teachers are highly qualified, with more than 60% holding a Master’s degree or higher. Teachers take care of each student individually. Here are the different ways students interact with their instructors.

1. Real-time online lectures

Teachers hold online lessons for their classes. This allows for students to listen to a real-time lecture as if they were in a traditional classroom. But unlike traditional school, this is merely one point of contact–not the main form of communication.

2. Phone Call

Every Primavera instructor has a direct phone line to offer immediate, personalized help. Students can access their contact information on the home page of the Parent Student Portal (PSP).

3. Instant Messaging

When students log in to their courses, they have easy access to an instant chat messenger. Students can see which teachers are online and contact them right away with a quick question.

4. Email

For smaller, less urgent questions, students can also email their instructors. Instructors respond to emails within 48-hours.

5. Online Personal Tutoring

Students needing help on a tricky subject can arrange individual online session with their teachers.

6. In-person appointments

Nearby students are welcome to schedule an appointment with their instructor for in-person support at our main office.

You can learn more about Primavera’s instructors in this article.

These many different forms of communication are imperative to help a struggling student succeed.

Primavera’s Guidance Counselors

Our Guidance Department has a stellar program structured around student needs. We do not simply assign our students to counselors according to last names. Instead, we assign according to student’s academic goals and needs. Paraprofessionals, guidance counselors and college & career specialists make up our dedicated guidance team.

You can learn more about Primavera’s guidance department in this article.

We will be posting more information on alternative schools in the near future, so stay tuned to our blog!


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  1. Avatar
    Angeline Jesse May 18, 2018 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Hello. My name is Angeline and my family and I will be moving to your area over the summer. My son will be a senior in the fall and attends an alternative school where we currently live. He has an iep. Would just like a little more information on how his schooling would transfer to you as he uses the Odysseyware program online.

    • Primavera Online
      Primavera Online May 21, 2018 at 9:02 am - Reply

      Hi, Angeline. Great question! We have specialized educators who are able to work with IEP plans. As for transferring, so long as the school is accredited, there shouldn’t be a problem getting your son switched over to Primavera. You can get started here, or our enrollment advisors would be happy to answer more questions at 480.456.6678. 🙂

  2. Avatar
    K January 25, 2019 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Hello. I was wondering if this school is free to out of state students? I live in Florida and would like to use this program.

    • Primavera Online
      Primavera Online January 26, 2019 at 12:09 pm - Reply

      Hi, K. Unfortunately, Primavera is only available to residents of Arizona. Thanks for the question, and best of luck! 🙂

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