Alternative Diploma Program

The Alternative Diploma Program (ADP) is an innovative partnership between the United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) and the Lowell Public Schools that enables students who have left school or are at risk of dropping out to earn their high school diploma.  With 32 students and 4 experienced and licensed teachers, ADP provides students with personal attention and a highly supportive learning environment.  Upon completing their required academic courses and earning passing MCAS scores in English, Math, and Science, students receive their Lowell High School diploma.

Project Based Learning
ADP utilizes Project Based Learning (PBL), which asks students to “go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge.” (Buck Institute for Learning, www.bie.org)  This hands-on approach helps students take ownership of their learning and develop habits and skills needed for life-long learning, civic engagement, and success in the workplace.  These skills include critical thinking, collaborative problem solving, and effective communication and project management.

Youth Voice and Leadership
ADP is deeply committed to fostering youth voice in decision-making.  All students and staff participate in Community Council, a democratic body that works to improve the school community.  At weekly Council meetings planned and facilitated by students, we have worked collaboratively to plan trips, develop new elective courses, and identify community expectations based on our shared values and vision for our community.  Students also help plan and facilitate a weekly Talking Circle, which helps foster strong and respectful relationships between and among students and staff.

Youth Voices Articles

Enrichment Opportunities
Students at ADP have the opportunity to participate in UTEC’s enrichment programs during afterschool hours.  These include spoken word poetry, painting, multi-media production, sound recording, b-boys break dancing crew.  We have also begun developing new enrichment opportunities including a vegetable garden at Rotary Park Community Garden and a cooking class that will help students learn how to prepare healthy and delicious meals on a budget. 

Schedule and Enrollment
Beginning in Fall 2012, ADP will be moving to a trimester based school calendar.  ADP is currently designed to serve 32 students.  New students will be admitted at the beginning on each trimester. 

To be eligible to join the program, students must:

  • Be a Lowell resident;
  • Have earned a minimum of 35 credits; and
  • Currently be a Lowell High School student or have attended Lowell High School at some point.

For more information or to apply, please contact Roy Karp at rkarp@utec-lowell.org or 978-726-8378.

Contact Info
Alternative Diploma Program
United Teen Equality Center
34 Hurd Street, Lowell, MA 01852