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High School


The Scarsdale Alternative School (SAS) was

created in 1972 by students, teachers, and

administrators as an experimental satellite of

Scarsdale High School. The Alternative School

is housed in a separate building on the High

School grounds and in a corridor of the main

school. SAS consists of 81 students (sophomores,

juniors, and seniors), five full-time staff,

and a full-time secretary. All SAS students

have a Scarsdale High School Dean (guidance

counselor), and Alternative School graduates

receive a Scarsdale High School diploma. The

schedule is the same as that of SHS; SAS students

routinely enroll in classes at the main





The Scarsdale Alternative School was created

and designed to meet the following goals:


·To establish a workable, democratic school

governance system, a “just community.”


·To promote students’ social, civic, and moral

development in addition to their academic

and intellectual development.


·To create a sense of community where students

and teachers learn to work together

toward agreed upon goals.


·To increase students’ freedom and responsibility

in pursuing their own education.


·To make the school less isolated from, and

more responsive to, the larger community

outside its four walls.


·To emphasize cooperation, and eliminate the

more destructive forms of competition.


·To maintain the high level of academic

achievement and excellence for which

Scarsdale is known.


Very important in the philosophy of SAS is the

emphasis on participation. At weekly

Community Meetings, students and teachers

work together to discuss and make decisions

regarding many areas of school life including

rule formation and discipline. Both personal

and academic concerns are confronted. The

SAS faculty believes that such emphasis on

participation is essential for the full development

of students. High school students need

experiences from which they learn how to meet

responsibilities as citizens in their schools, local

community, and ultimately, in their country and

in their world.


Efforts to promote students’ ethical and civic

development have gained SAS both New York

State and national validation as an “exemplary

educational program.” The Scarsdale Alternative

School program has served as a model

for similar high school programs in other

school districts.




Often alternative programs are created for the

potential dropout, the slow learner, the gifted or

talented, or those interested in a specific area

such as music and art or math and science.

Often students do not elect such programs but

rather are placed into them. The Scarsdale

Alternative School is NOT an alternative program

of this type. Rather, it is an experimental

school whose students represent a cross section

of the larger population of Scarsdale High

School. Because the school operates as a laboratory

school, one of its purposes is to explore

alternative structures and curriculum which are

potentially useful to the parent institution and

which are at the same time consistent with the

philosophy and goals of SAS. For this reason it

is important that SAS maintain a representative

cross section of the Scarsdale High School population.

Over the years, the School has consistently

attracted a diverse student body.


SAS students are a heterogeneous group of typical

sophomores, juniors, and seniors from

Scarsdale High School. Students range from

those who may be National Merit scholars and

the very top students in the country to those

with more limited academic skills. Students

attend SAS for reasons too numerous and complex

to treat in this brief description. Since,

however, SAS is an entirely voluntary, self-

selecting program, all students have in common

the desire to be part of the school.




The Scarsdale Alternative School is a college

preparatory school; generally all of its graduates

go on to four-year colleges or universities.

SAS offers the courses typically taken in high

school in English, social studies, mathematics,

science, and foreign language. Small size permits

considerable flexibility in scheduling,

allowing some unusual and rewarding experiences

to take place such as courses which combine

academic and field experience, and team-

taught interdisciplinary courses.


Many SAS classes are small, allowing for individual

attention and student participation.

Students with learning difficulties can receive

individual remedial work while high achievers

can be directed toward more challenging courses

and projects.


Most students take courses at the main school

as well, in subjects not offered at SAS. SAS

students participate in student government, various

clubs, drama productions, publications,

athletics, and other extra-curricular activities

offered at Scarsdale High School.