What is a County Alternative School?

The school is in what was once an old Kroger’s IGA store and at one time it was a hardware store as well I think. Because of the HVAC ducts the walls do not go all the way up to the ceiling.  There is black mold on many of the interior outer walls. The building is apparently infested with termits and cockroaches as well.  Tuesday morning during a faculty meeting a big ole cricket crawled/hopped right through the meeting area. The fire marshal mandated that build exterior doors to each classroom for evacuation (they cost $70,000 I think to build).  Surprisingly, there is technology in the building. Each classroom has a computer (bought last year) for the teacher and two or three rooms have computers for student research (mine and the personal finance/business classroom). There is one room with a smartboard. This surprised me immensely.  I believe six of the eight classrooms have LCD projectors. There is also a wireless network in the building.

There are eight teachers. Two teachers handle 4-8 grades and five handle high school: math, social studies, English, science, business, and special education.  There is also a student coordinator, a social worker, the principal, and the secretary. That’s it. That’s all we have. Twelve total staff.  This year, we are beginning with about 32 students. These students are hold-overs from last year.

These students are here as a result of infractions with zero-tolerance policies (intoxication, transporting marijuana, being high, weapons, etc) and/or behavior problems. They have, for all intents and purposes, been expelled from the school system. The alternative school is their last hope. If they don’t turn it around there, they’re kicked out of school. Some are sent to the school for a limited time and others for an entire school year.  The clock starts ticking the day they report to the school and ends 180 days later. They are required to wear khaki pants and a blue polo style shirt. During winter they wear a blue sweatshirt over the blue polo shirt.

The students enter school as “level 1” students and progress up to “level 4” students. It doesn’t take much to go down a level if they break the rules. Each level comes with privileges and responsibilities. They eat lunch together in the classrooms. They eat in groups according to what level they are in.

Students begin the day between 7:30-8:00am. When they walk in the building, they pin their nametag on their shirt and get “wanded” by a police officer and males get patted down as well. They continue on to an assembly room where they sit at desks and face the back of the building without talking or turning around. At 8:00am the principal leads them through the pledge of allegiance and some various motivation stuff. They are then turned over to the teachers and led to their classrooms. Each class is 90 minute blocks.

And that’s about it in a nutshell.

They say we’ll be in a new building next year, but I doubt it. We need to be in a new building that’s for sure.

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2 responses

  1. Business,heh? That’s interesting. I thought these alternative schools only had the basics. So, how has the business teacher been doing this year?

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    1. Yeah, we offer the basics: all the different maths; English I, II, III, IV; physical science, environmental science, and biology; U.S. history, economics, government, & geography; computer applications, personal finance.

      When I said business, I probably should have qualified that more than what I did. In addition to these classes, we also are able to facilitate a multitude of on-line courses. In my classes, I can also host students working on art history, ancient history, or world history. All the teachers do this to one extent or another. In any one class, I might have 2-3 different classes going on.

      We have to offer not only the mandatory basic courses, but also electives as well so students can fulfill any needed requirement. Don’t forget that we even get honor roll students at alternative schools due to zero tolerance. I have one young lady who has taken every AP course her high school offered and missed out on many of her senior year festivities. While they are the alternative school they are not permitted on any school grounds in the district. It’s considered trespassing.

      As to your specific question, he does quite well. Since some of his classes are electives they’re probably more enjoyable than the mandatory classes!

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