Model Program

Delaware Valley High Schools

100 N. Logan Square, Suite 1900
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Contact Information:
Mr. Mark J. Kaye, M-ED
District Liaison

Program Specification:






Strong Evidence of Effectiveness

Age/Grade Level:

Target Settings:

Target Groups:

Middle School
High School




Other Participation Criteria:

All Ethnicities


Delaware Valley High School was founded in 1969 with the sole mission of addressing the needs of at risk youth. Since that time, DVHS has evolved into a leader in the alternative education field earning the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Model Program Award for Best Practices. DVHS consists of 3 campuses, one serving suburban Bucks County, and 2 serving the City of Philadelphia. DVHS provides an intimate academic setting, social and emotional support. extensive behavioral and mental health counseling, and a full cadre of alliances and enrichment programs, A career center is available where students can explore their interests in relation to post secondary planning. Realistic goal setting and support are vital components to the success of our students. DVHS contracts with 14 area school districts to provide at risk potential dropouts with an effective alternative path to graduation. Our block scheduled programming provides additional opportunities for credit recovery. We are a licensed and approved alternative school with thousands of graduates who have become productive and successful citizens. We also provide scholarship opportunities for our graduates who matriculate at accredited post secondary institutions.

Program Descriptors Include:
Academic Improvement, Alternative Education, Attendance/Truancy, Behavior Management/Discipline, Bullying/Violence, Career Education, Community Collaboration, Counseling/Advisories/Coaches, Credit Recovery, Extended-School/Summer Program, Family/Parental Involvement, Students with Disabilities, Study Skills, Transition Program

Strategies for Locating Students:
Phone calls, Home visits, Personalized letters, Reengagement/resource fairs, Materials distributed in public venues, Outreach conducted at locations/events attended by youth, Public events focused on dropout recovery, Collaboration with other schools/districts, Collaboration with social service agencies/community-based organizations, Collaboration with law enforcement

Starting Date: 1969
Students Served Per Year: 500+
Reenrolled Students with Disabilities: 25% or more
Last Verified: 2010

Risk Factors:

Protective Factors:

Program addresses the following:

Individual factors

  • Has a learning disability or emotional disturbance
  • 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
  • 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

  • School size: too small/too large
  • Race/ethnicity
  • School math achievement
  • Student engagement

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
  • 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


  • Comprehensive diagnostic systems
  • Early warning systems
  • Personalized instruction and learning
  • Rigorous and relevant instruction
  • Academic support
  • Instruction on behavior and social skills
  • Supportive school climate
  • Encourage family involvement/community supports
  • Teach self-determination and self-advocacy skills including student/person-centered planning
  • Eliminate practices that push students out of school
  • Help students to address problems that interfere with learning

Program Resources:

Annual Cost:

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

Funding Sources Include:

Program Staff Includes:

School Districts

Social Workers
School Administrators

Materials Used:

Supporting / Partner Organizations:

Instructional Texts/Manuals
Computer/Internet Based

Bucks County Workforce Investment Board, Bucks County Community College, Philadelphia Community College, Lasalle University, Chestnut Hill College, Jutih B. Shulick Memorial Scholarship Foundation, City Year Youth Volunteer Program

Evaluation Information:

Delaware Valley High School is an alternate high school that provides intensive interventions with the goal of graduating at risk students who were in grave danger of dropping out of their home school districts. With our accelerated block scheduled credit recovery and intimate environment, we are able to provide intensive counseling and education opportunities for our students. Over 90% of our students who are not restored in their home districts graduate from our high schools. Our students are able to increase their reading and math levels over 20% based on the Terra-Nova testing that we administer(2009-10). Our students are able to matricuate at a variety of post secondary programs that include 4 year colleges, community colleges, trade and technical programs and nursing schools. A Holy Family research study indicates the effectiveness and value of our programming. With a significant special education population, we write our IEP's in an relevant format under the direction of our Special Education Coordinator. Our transition planning involves a career portfolio document to set realistic goals for all of our students. Our attendance system notifies parents and school districts of absences and chronic attendance issues.

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