education options

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education options2018-02-24T21:25:28+00:00

You have more options than you may think…

Brick & Mortar Public Schools

Compulsory Attendance

Your child’s age is your first indicator of his or her eligibility for beginning school. Students may start kindergarten if they turn five on or before September 1st. A child does not have to enroll in school at age five, but must be enrolled in 1st grade if he or she is six on or before December 31.  see more >

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Required Documentation

Alabama school districts set the requirements for what documentation is required prior to enrolling a student in their district. To get that information, contact the district directly.  

Some legal documents are required for Alabama students to attend school:

  • Certified Birth Certificate/proof of identity
  • Official copy of records/transcripts from the previous school the child most recently attended
  • A shot immunization record (or proof that immunization is not required for the child)
  • Click here to view the immunization requirements 
  • Proof of home address (for example, a rental agreement or tax statement)

School Fees

Paying some fees is a part of public education, though it is primarily a free education. Students are expected to supply their own basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and notebooks. Each district has a list of approved expenditures for students. Fee waiver forms can be requested from the school if there is a situation that prevents a family from being able to pay for required materials or events.

Some typical items on that list include:

  • Lunch
  • Summer school
  • Student parking passes (high school)
  • Lost textbooks
  • Late or lost library books
  • Field trips
  • Special class-required fees (e.g., science lab fees)

Public Charter Schools

What are Charter Schools?

Charter Schools are tuition-free public schools operated by independent, non-profit governing bodies.

Parents, teachers, and community leaders sign a “charter” or contract with a school district or state agency to create a charter school and give students more educational options than their assigned school. Charter schools have flexibility over classroom hours, curriculum, and employment policies, but are subject to periodic reviews based on student performance. In Alabama, public charter school students are measured against the same academic standards as students in other public schools. Local boards of education monitor the academic and financial performance of charter schools, and, can revoke  or refuse to renew a school’s charter.

Alabama Charter Schools

Only two school districts, Birmingham City and Athens City, are fully registered as charter authorizers in Alabama.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about charters can be found at the Alabama Department of Education.  

Enrollment

Most charter schools do not have attendance zones. If you are interested in applying for your child, you must apply directly to the school. The application and selection process can be quite complicated. Make sure to contact the school early to determine the correct next steps to applying.

Virtual Public Schools

Before the 2016-17 school year, each local board of education adopted a policy providing at a minimum, a virtual education option for eligible students in Grades 9 – 12, inclusive, beginning with that school year. Most have programs available for students 8-12 grade. Check your local school district for details.

Access Virtual Learning

phone: (334) 242-9594
grades: 9–12

Alabama Virtual Academy at Eufaula City Schools

phone: (334) 689-5059
grades: K–12

Athens Renaissance School

phone: (855) 707-9511
grades: K–12

Baldwin County Virtual School

phone: (251) 937-0306
grades: 8–12

Conecuh County Virtual School

phone: (251) 578-5291
grades: K–12

Private Schools

What makes a school “private”?

Private schools charge tuition, and many have a religious mission. Some private schools offer families assistance to make tuition payments. Click below for the complete list of over 300 private schools across the state.

private school review

Private School Review offers free, detailed information on U.S. private schools combined with useful community data (e.g., housing costs) and maps of the surrounding areas.

*Information on non-public school admission requirements should be obtained from the school directly.

Scholarships

For families who currently want to consider private school options in Alabama, there are a few programs and organizations that provide vouchers and scholarships! For information on eligibility requirements and which schools participate in scholarship programs visit these organizations: Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund, Scholarships for Kids, and Rocket City SGO.

Educational Choice Programs

In 2013 Alabama enacted the Alabama Accountability Act. This act ensures that grants can be made by a scholarship granting organization to cover all or part of a child’s education, so they can have an education that benefits their individual learning needs.

Alabama has a Refundable Tax Credit Program that was launched in 2013. This differs from traditional tax programs, because refundable tax credits have more utility for parents of more modest incomes.

For more information on policy change or to get involved in the school choice movement in Indiana visit EdChoice.

Private Virtual Schools

George Washington University Online High School is an online college preparatory academy for motivated students who are willing to be challenged to become the best students and persons they can be. Combining award-winning curriculum with small class sizes and intensive college counseling, students receive a flexible, individualized education attuned to their own needs and goals.

International Academy is a K12, Inc accredited, online private school for grades K–12. Students earn a U.S. high school diploma while using award-winning K¹² curriculum

They offer extensive, individualized academic and counseling support keep students on track. The flexibility allows students to explore their passions. Full-time and part-time options are available.

International Connections Academy is a fully-accredited, online, college preparatory private school serving K–12 students worldwide. The program combines a top-rated curriculum with talented teachers, cutting-edge technology, the flexibility to learn at home, and direct family involvement to ensure each student realizes his or her full potential.

The Keystone School offers flexible education programs for high school and middle school students. Whether your student wants to study full-time or just needs individual classes, they offer more than 170 courses from credit recovery to world languages and AP. Students can enroll at any time.

Home Education

Your options

In Alabama, parents have three options when it comes to educating their children at home. These options are: homeschool with a church school, with a private school, or using a private tutor. Parents in Alabama may choose to homeschool their own children in grades K – 12. Below are descriptions and necessary requirements for each option.  learn more >

With a church school:

A church school offers instruction in grades K–12 or any combination thereof, including preschool, through onsite or home programs, and is operated as a ministry of a local church, group of churches, denomination, and/or association of churches that does not receive any state or federal funding. A home may be the location where a child receives instruction as a student attending a church school. A parent may establish a church school in the home, or the home may be an extension of an existing church school.

  • File a church school enrollment certificate with the local public school superintendent.
  • Keep an attendance register.
  • Comply with any policies established by the church school.

For a list of church schools in Alabama, check out Christian Home Education Fellowship of Alabama.

With a Private School:

A private school is established, conducted, and supported by a nongovernmental entity or agency offering educational instruction in grades K–12 or any combination thereof, including preschool, through onsite or home programs. A home may be the location where a child receives instruction as a student attending a private school. A parent may establish a private school in the home, or the home may be an extension of an existing private school.

  • Register the private school.
  • Comply with private school reporting requirements. Private school reporting forms can be found here.
  • Keep an attendance register.
  • Obtain proof of immunization.
  • Teach Physical Education.
  • Comply with any policies established by the private school.


Private Homeschool Option:

HomeLife Academy
12060 County Line Rd Suite J #219
Madison, AL 35756

visit website >

Using a private tutor:

  • Select a certified tutor with the required qualifications. (Must be a state certified teacher)
  • Your student must be instructed in the required number of subjects for the required number of days. (140 days; between the hours of 8am-4pm)
  • The private tutor must comply with reporting and recordkeeping requirements.
Home School Legal Defense Alliance

visit HSLDA website >

Coalition for Responsible Home Education

visit the coalition’s website >

Support Groups

Alabama has many homeschool associations that offer classes, curriculum, advising, sports, clubs, socials and recreation. Check out your local support groups here.

Dual Enrollment

College Credit

Dual enrollment allows students to receive both high school and college credit for certain career/technical education courses taken through an Alabama Community College System (ACCS) institution while enrolled in high school. Dual enrollment credit is available to students attending, public, private, parochial or church/religious schools pursuant to §16-28-1 of Code of Alabama 1975, or who are receiving instruction from a home school/private tutor pursuant to §16-28-5 of the Code of Alabama. Dual enrollment credit in career-technical education is awarded under State Board of Education Policy 801.03 and 801.04. Scholarship opportunities may be available to students that meet the eligibility requirements to participate in the dual enrollment program.

Course Fees

Tuition is the responsibility of the student/parent, unless otherwise negotiated between the college and the local board of education. Tuition may be provided by alternative resources, including funds provided by Workforce Development.

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