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Alt Ed Profile

The Union Alternative Education Program was created to better meet the needs of Union students who have been unsuccessful in the regular education program. Students from ninth through 12th grades are enrolled in the program housed at 5656 S. 129 E. Ave.

The Alternative School is not a punishment program. Instead, it is intended to lead students toward success in the mainstream of education through the use of innovative teaching techniques, greater access to counseling services, more individualized course study, flexible scheduling, lower student/teacher ratios (15:1 or less), and a more supportive classroom atmosphere.

"Our Mission is to Graduate 100 Percent of Our Students, College & Career Ready."

Together We Make a Difference


Apply To Be A Student At Union Alternative School

Application forms may be acquired from a counselor at any of Union’s secondary schools or at the Alternative school site office. The intake process for the program is intended to be both thorough and simple.

Apply Here

Because a maximum of 170 students can be enrolled for the high school program, it is important that the students admitted are truly in need of the services and are likely to benefit from the programs.

Applicants may be referred by a school professional, a parent/guardian, or by themselves.

Union Alternative students laugh during a photo at a block graduation ceremony.

What happens next

Students in a packed graduation ceremony at Union Alrternative School

Once the application is received, the student’s academic records are reviewed, and interviews are conducted. The student, his or her parents or guardians, school personnel, and other sources are interviewed.

The results of these interviews are discussed among the program’s staff. Those students deemed most appropriate for the program are enrolled, while others remain on the waiting list.

Before students are accepted into the program, they must be willing to sign a contract which states their willingness to comply with the school’s rules and to be successful in the program.

Students who fail to comply with this contract may be involuntarily returned to regular education classes or sent to the Intervention Program.

Expanded services

Conventional wisdom holds that alternative school should serve no more than 90 students to maintain the close interpersonal relationships between students and staff that are the hallmark of these schools.  However, Union Alternative School has gone against convention and services 160 students.

The physical layout of the school’s campus helps to maintain the feel of a small school. 

Classes are held in two different buildings, all within 30 yards distance.  Therefore, all 160 students are not in the same place at the same time except during assemblies.  This separation keeps students from feeling overwhelmed by crowded conditions.

However, it’s also important to have all students and staff members become a cohesive unit that all interact and develop relationships with everyone.  To accomplish this unity, students and staff are free to travel from one building to another before and after school and during breaks to speak to friends in other parts of the campus.

During lunch, students and staff mingle and relax either in the school cafeteria, in one of the classroom buildings, or in a picnic area between buildings.  Foosball, ping pong, shuffleboard, and billiard tables are available for student recreation when classes aren’t in session.

Both the staff and the students work hard to develop an atmosphere based on kindness, mutual respect, and trust. 

Many of our students have had negative experiences or significant lack of success in school before they come here, so we give them the opportunity to get off to a new start in a new environment with the slate wiped clean of past problems.

Union Aklternative students holds calculator at desk.

Union Alternative School helps students thrive in the classroom.

Students Volunteer To Attend Alt Ed

All of the students come here voluntarily, and they all sign student contracts in which they agree to attend regularly, to study hard, to go by the rules, and to treat others respectfully.  We have never failed to graduate a student who has been willing to abide by that contract.

Life doesn’t give people many chances to put mistakes behind them and start anew.  In the Alternative School, the students are grateful to have this opportunity, and very few fail to succeed in this environment.

A boy and girl wear sunglasses at Union Alternative School

Union Alternative School provides a welcoming environment.

All-Star Teaching Staff

Besides an “all-star teaching staff,” several other forms of support are available to students and parents.  Head Counselor Judith Dickson organizes the efforts of a wide range of counselors who help students overcome situations outside of school which have negatively impacted their schooling.  These include a full-time CREOKS therapists, and parenting counselor, a social worker, a rehab specialist, a school psychologist, a Native American counselor, a homeless liaison, a school resource officer, a student assistance counselor, and college and career specialists who work part-time at the Alternative School.

We know that almost all of the students who attend Union Alternative School are bright enough that they should be able to do well in school, but that there are situations or behaviors which have distracted them from their studies and caused failure or diminished success.  Therefore, we believe that the counselors are just as important as the teachers in getting these students to succeed academically.

We believe that--if the counselors can help students to overcome social issues, to learn to solve family problems, to get students not to poison themselves with drugs or alcohol, to get students to where they’re not walking around with the weight of the world on their shoulders—then the academics will come around because now students will be able to focus on their studies.

Union Alternative Is Not A Place Where All The 'Bad Kids' Go

The Alternative School spends a great amount of time trying to get students to believe in themselves and trying to get others to understand that this is not a place where all the bad kids have to go.  In literal truth, no one has to go here.  We only accept students who apply for the program, who go through an informational forum, who attend a private interview, and who are ready to commit to a student contract.  We can’t help students who don’t want to be helped, but we certainly can help those who do. 

Providing A Unique Pathway for Students

The Truth About Union Alt Ed

Union Atlternative teacher smiles next to sitting student

Students receive the best help from supportive teachers.


Chris Ducker

Chris Ducker

Chris Ducker started his career as a teacher for Union Public Schools in 2006. He has served as the principal of Union Alternative School for several years.  He had taught Algebra 1 and Geometry at Union Intermediate High School before taking a position as an administrative intern at the Intermediate High School in 2011. The following year, he became an Assistant Principal at Union High School where he served three years. 

Ducker received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from Northeastern State University in 2006, and he received his master’s degree in school administration at Northeastern State University in 2012.  He plans to continue his education in the future, as a pursuit to be a life-long learner. 

Ducker worked in the FOCUS program at Union for four years and was the 2009-2010 Intermediate High School Teacher of the Year. He also served as the 10th grade Mathematics Instructional Team Leader during the 2010-2011 school year. 

Moom and daughter celebrate block graduation with Union Alternative Principal Chris Ducker

Principal Chris Ducker invites families to celebrate at the end of each block in a graduation attended by the entire school.


Alt Ed In Photos

3 Union Alternative female students mug for the camera
Union Alternative student hugs school secretary
Union Alternative students in classroom setting
Union Alternative students participate in egg hunt on back lawn
Union Alternative student holds her calculator
Union Alternative Principal Chris Ducker with security at door
front view of the Alternative School
Union Alternative student works on a laptop