Trends and Opportunities in Accountability for Alternative Education

Trends and Opportunities in Accountability for Alternative Education
Trends and Opportunities in Accountability for Alternative Education

Partner Website(s)


This webinar is part one of a three-part series. Click here to view part two, and click here to view part three.

Webinar Materials

Presentation Slideshow
Transcript of Webinar Video
Measuring Success: Accountability for Alternative Education


Discussion of alternative education is growing across the country as states and districts look for ways to better serve students whose needs are not met in traditional school settings. Alternative settings vary greatly in how they operate, whom they aim to enroll, how they are held accountable, and their ability to provide high-quality educational pathways for at-risk youth. According to the 2017 Building a Grad Nation report, alternative schools are overrepresented in identified low-graduation-rate high schools, indicating the need to create accountability systems that ensure high quality education among alternative settings and that measure these settings’ progress and success in supporting at-risk youth.

This webinar discussed a new brief by Civic Enterprises and the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) entitled Measuring Success: Accountability for Alternative Education. This brief addresses four key opportunities states have both within and outside of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to better understand and ultimately improve alternative education: the definition of alternative education used, accountability system structure, accountability measures, and mechanisms for continuous improvement. This brief was informed by a state scan conducted by AYPF of approaches to alternative education before the implementation of ESSA, and the webinar shared key findings from this scan. As many states continue to explore innovative approaches to accountability, the webinar provided a state perspective to illustrate how accountability systems can be inclusive of alternative settings in practice.

Additional Resources:

Policy Brief: Measuring Success: Accountability for Alternative Education
2017 Building A Grad Nation Report
AYPF Alternative Education Resource Page
Center for Assessment Website
Hathaway Scholarship Program
Wyoming’s ESSA State Plan
The National Alternative Education Association (NAEA) Website
Reaching At-Promise Students Association (RAPSA) Website
Opportunity Youth Network (OYN) Website
National League of Cities (NLC) Reengagement Network Website

Presenter Biographies

Jennifer DePaoli, Ph.D.
Senior Research & Policy Advisor, Civic Enterprises
Twitter Handles: @CivicEnterprise, @jld1220

Jennifer DePaoli is the Senior Research & Policy Advisor at Civic Enterprises, where she leads the education portfolio, including research and advocacy on behalf of the GradNation campaign, work with CASEL and others in the SEL field, and research and policy work in the alternative education space. Prior to joining Civic Enterprises, Jennifer served as an education policy researcher at Policy Matters Ohio, a state policy think tank, where she worked on state K-12 education policy analysis and co-authored reports on school choice and charter school policy in Ohio. She also has nearly a decade of experience teaching at the university and elementary/middle school levels. Jennifer earned her Ph.D. in Education Policy from The Ohio State University and an M.Ed. in Middle Childhood Education from the University of Dayton.

Julie Magee, Ph.D.
Director of Accountability, Wyoming Department of Education.
Twitter Handle: @WYOEducation

Julie Magee serves as the Accountability Director at the Wyoming Department of Education. She has been with the Department for nearly ten years. Prior to working for the WDE, she was an English teacher in Las Vegas, working specifically with at-risk and EL populations. While earning her doctorate, she studied factors that influence the enrollment intentions of first-generation students after their first year of college. She earned her undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and advanced degrees from the University of Nevada (Las Vegas) and University of Wyoming.

Jesse Kannam
Policy Research Assistant, American Youth Policy Forum
Twitter Handle: @AYPF_Tweets

Jesse Kannam joined AYPF in January 2017. Her role as Policy Research Assistant involves assisting with the development and execution of learning events such as forums, webinars, and discussion groups, as well as researching, summarizing, and synthesizing relevant information into policy and practice guidance for dissemination to multiple audiences. Prior to AYPF, Jesse worked as a junior associate in the enrollment office at DC Public Schools, as part of their Urban Education Leaders Internship Program, and as an intern in the Housing Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services. Jesse holds a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and a certificate in Community Action and Public Policy from Connecticut College.


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.