Case Study

Alternative Options Give Students More Opportunities to Learn

February 16, 2017
Troy City School District, NY


Troy City School District’s Alternative Learning Program (ALP) serves students in Grades 8 – 12 who have not had success in a traditional classroom environment. ALP needed a way to effectively identify learning gaps, customize learning plans, and support teachers in providing personalized learning for all their students.


The primary goals of ALP are to:

  • Provide support for students to recover credits and regain academic strength so they can return to high school
  • Empower teachers to effectively monitor student progress, identify students in need of intervention, and provide personalized instruction


Troy City School District began using Apex Learning Comprehensive Courses in 2012 – 2013, and Tutorials in 2016 – 2017. Apex Learning enabled the program to provide a personalized learning environment with a flexible yet rigorous digital curriculum aligned to New York state standards.


Every year the Alternative Learning Program finds more value in Apex Learning, and has expanded to serve students with disciplinary suspensions, for home instruction, and for summer school math and science courses. More students are passing courses and Regents exams, and disciplinary suspensions have dropped in the last five years.

District Profile 2015 – 2016

  • 3,960 Students
  • Grades PreK – 12
  • Small City District
  • Economically Disadvantaged: 73%
  • Students with Disabilities: 17%
  • ELL Students: 3%

Alternative Learning Program

  • 110 Students
  • Grades 8 – 12


  • White: 45%
  • Black: 31%
  • Hispanic: 16%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander: 2%
  • American Indian or Alaska Native: <1%
  • Multiracial: 6%


  • Blended Learning
  • Virtual Learning


  • Comprehensive Courses
  • Tutorials

Troy City School District, NY


Students Succeed When They Have Options for Learning

When students enter the Alternative Learning Program, a liaison coordinator and counselor reviews their transcripts to determine if they need Apex Learning Courses to recover credits and/or Tutorials for remediation and more focused instruction. Once that decision is made, teachers use the built-in assessments to identify areas in need of mastery and work with students to create customized learning plans. “This creates hope for the students,” says Canfield. “We tell them that we can create a game plan for them to succeed. Kids aren’t used to hearing that.”

The school has found that students regain academic confidence when they have personalized learning options. That confidence is strengthened when they begin working with Apex Learning. “Kids are visual learners,” says Canfield. “They like having media beyond a lecture. They like clicking and listening versus just reading. They find Apex colorful, engaging, and interactive. We chose Apex Learning because we loved the idea that students could work at their own pace based on their skills and abilities instead of just sitting through classes all four years [without any individualized instruction],” says Canfield.

Because of our partnership with Apex Learning, our teachers are able to truly differentiate instruction and provide options for learning.

Jim Canfield

Director of Special Programs and Principal of the Troy City School District Alternative Learning Program


Teachers Can Reach All Students with Personalized Instruction

Teachers at the Alternative Learning Program are always available to students, and they utilize Apex Learning as a classroom resource to personalize and differentiate instruction to meet the diverse needs of all their students, whether they are accelerated or struggling. With real-time data, teachers can continuously monitor student progress and performance, identify learning gaps, and provide immediate 1:1 intervention or remediation.

The Alternative Learning Program not only helps students recover course credits, but also develop deeper understanding of concepts. Standards-based course content ensures that students meet state requirements in core subjects. By providing several options to learn, the district gives students the opportunity to gain confidence in their abilities and experience success.

“If it wasn’t for Apex, many students wouldn’t be able to graduate,” says Canfield.