Chicago's Alternative Learning Opportunity Programs


Approximately 400,000 students attend Chicago Public Schools (CPS). About 27,000 school aged-youth in Chicago are either no longer enrolled or off-track for graduation. In an effort to increase options available to out-of-school and off-track to graduation youth, CPS partners with Alternative Learning Opportunity Programs (ALOPs). CPS launched a request for proposals as part of a multi-year alternative learning expansion effort. 

CPS expects prospective ALOP programs to embody the following five pillars: 

1. High standards, rigorous curriculum, and powerful instruction 

2. Systems of support that meet student needs 

3. Engaged and empowered families and community 

4. Committed and effective teachers, leaders, and staff 

5. Sound fiscal, operational, and accountability systems 



City Role 

Chicago Public Schools (CPS), which operates as a city agency, launched the request for proposals to expand Alternative Learning Opportunity Programs. CPS also conceived of and developed Student Outreach and Reengagement (SOAR) centers which play a role in the citywide violence prevention strategy.  CPS contracts with community-based organization to operate each of the four centers. SOAR staff refer students to the Alternative Learning Opportunity Programs. 



The Office of Education Options works with community organizations, social service agencies, local community colleges, and the network of schools within the Chicago Public School District. CPS accepts proposals from schools with a range of governance structures. Through these partnerships, the Office of Education Options is able to diversify the curriculum of each program to meet the diverse needs of prospective students. 



In the 2014-2015 academic year, Student Outreach and Re-engagement Centers placed 1,684 youth in alternative learning programs. In addition, many students independently decide to attend alternative learning programs and are not included in this figure. 


Institute for Youth Education and Families

CPS Office of Education Options, 
4655 S. Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 

Last modified: March 2016

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