Model Program

Oklahoma Technical Assistance Center

123 E. Broadway
Cushing, OK 74023

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Contact Information:
Ms. Denise A. Riley
Assistant Director

Program Specification:






Strong Evidence of Effectiveness

Age/Grade Level:

Target Settings:

Target Groups:

Middle School
High School

Inner City

Grade Level


Other Participation Criteria:

All Ethnicities

At-risk of not completing school


In 1982, the Oklahoma State Department of Education began pilot programs to address a growing concern for the number of high school student leaving without a diploma. By 1992, the state increased funding to alternative education programs across the state and established an evaluation requirement. OTAC was chosen to be the evaluator of this statewide initative. It became apparent that certain components were fundamental to the success of the interventions. Seventeen criteria were identified from OTAC research on best practices and successful strategies for intervening with at-risk learners and they were written into law. The Oklahoma Technical Assistance Center (OTAC) created a rubric to assess the implementation of each of the criteria in each program. OTAC provided coaching, technical assistance, and evaluation. A state-wide model for Alternative education along with the evaluation process and coaching offered by OTAC became nationally recognized. Annually we serve more than 11,000 students in grades six through twelve. Five of the state alternative programs have received the National Dropout Prevention Network's Crystal Star of Excellence. In 2004, NDPN awarded two of Oklahoma's programs in one year. The Oklahoma Technical Assistance Center evaluates all of the Oklahoma programs based on three independent sources of information: observational data collected during site visits by OTAC staff, student surveys, and student outcomes. The student outcomes include both demographics and program effectiveness data. OTAC continues to provide evaluation, professional development, technical assistance throughout the state. Professional development is delivered through webcast, on-site coaching, regional meeting, and work with district leadership teams and small learning communities.

Program Descriptors Include:
Academic Improvement, Alternative Education, Attendance/Truancy, Bullying/Violence, Career Education, Community Collaboration, Computer Assisted Instruction, Counseling/Advisories/Coaches, Credit Recovery, Family/Parental Involvement, Homeless, Mentoring/Tutoring, Professional Development, Service Learning, Study Skills, Substance Abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Virtual Learning, Life Skills Training

Strategies for Locating Students:

Starting Date: 1972
Students Served Per Year: 500+
Reenrolled Students with Disabilities: N/A
Last Verified: 2009

Risk Factors:

Protective Factors:

Program addresses the following:

Individual factors

  • Has a learning disability or emotional disturbance
  • High number of work hours
  • Parenthood
  • High-risk peer group
  • High-risk social behavior
  • Highly socially active outside of school
  • Low achievement
  • Retention/overage for grade
  • Poor attendance
  • Low educational expectations
  • Lack of effort
  • Low commitment to school
  • No extracurricular participation
  • Misbehavior

Family factors

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • High family mobility
  • Low education level of parents
  • Large number of siblings
  • Not living with both natural parents
  • Family disruption
  • Low educational expectations
  • Sibling(s) has dropped out
  • Low contact with school
  • Lack of conversations about school

School factors

  • Limited resources: expenditures per student/ teacher salaries/ student-teacher ratios
  • School size: too small/too large
  • Race/ethnicity
  • School math achievement
  • School policies and practices
  • Student engagement
  • Teacher expectations

Community factors

  • Family composition/socioeconomic status
  • Local labor market/neighborhood stability
  • Youth social attitudes

Program promotes the following:


  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Opportunities and rewards for pro-social involvement
  • Clear social norms
  • Good relationships with parents, peers, and teachers
  • Involvement with positive peer activities
  • Perception of support from adults and peers


  • Healthy/conventional beliefs and standards
  • Positive/resilient temperament


  • Social competencies
  • Self efficacy


  • Problem-solving skills
  • Flexibility


  • High expectations by community, family, school, and self
  • Optimistic

Program Resources:

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is over $500,000 or $1000 - $2000 per student.

Funding Sources Include:

Program Staff Includes:

State Agencies

Social Workers
Graduation Coaches
School Administrators

Materials Used:

Supporting / Partner Organizations:

Instructional Texts/Manuals
Computer/Internet Based

Oklahoma State Department of Education, University of Oklahoma K20 Center

Evaluation Information:

The Oklahoma Technical Assistance Center (OTAC) has been providing evaluation, technical assistance and professional development services to local, state, and national agencies for more than thirty years. OTAC also provides technical assistance and professional development to approximately 257 statewide Alternative Education Programs. OTAC offers a broad array of professional development opportunities to all Oklahoma educators through onsite personalized coaching, customized data-driven workshops, videoconferencing, and web access to over 60 free, original, and timely professional development programs. OTAC's mission is to improve student outcomes and create systemic change that impacts curriculum, teaching, assessment, classroom management and school leadership. OTAC has been recognized by the US Department of Education.

How evaluation data was collected:
Outside experimental studies
Data collected and analyzed at school/district level
Data collected and analyzed at state or organizational level