132.  ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION PROGRAM - Pg.

132.  ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION PROGRAM

1.        Purpose

It is the policy of the Governor Mifflin School District to establish an alternative school program in accordance with this policy.

2.        Guidelines

Description Of The Program

The Alternative Education Program (AEP) has been developed by administrators of the Governor Mifflin and Wilson School Districts. The program is for those students, grades 7-12, who have developed an unproductive and even counter-productive relationship with the regular school program. The AEP will be operated as separate and distinct from the regular education program. At the same time, it maintains a relationship to the regular program because, under certain conditions, students may return from the AEP to the regular program. The ratio of students to teacher will be 14 to 1 maximum.

The Alternative Education Program (AEP) meets in the Governor Mifflin Middle School or at Wilson Senior High School on Mondays through Fridays. While attending the AEP, students are excluded from all regular education activities.

Instruction shall be provided by certified secondary school teachers. The teachers will be selected primarily for their ability to work with alienated or disruptive youth. Secondarily, they will be selected for their subject area competence. Instruction will be provided in applied mathematics, English (or reading if more appropriate), social studies, science, and physical education.

The subject matter instruction will be provided in a core approach: math-science and English-social studies. One (1) core will be taught on Monday and Wednesday; the other on Tuesday and Thursday.

A vital component of the AEP is individual and small group counseling. Students enrolled in this program will be there because of faulty values and attitudes. A re-orientation of the student's values and attitudes will occur through sound counseling. The provision for this component will be in the hands of a "coordinator-counselor." This person will coordinate the overall program and counsel students at each session.

Type Of Students Served

Students enrolled in the Alternative Education Program (AEP) shall be individuals who have established a pattern of disruption to or alienation from the regular program. Students who have offended the District by some blatant violation such as selling drugs, committing violence against a person in the school setting, or committing an act of vandalism may also be enrolled.

Basically, the individual enrolled in the AEP is one who has an underdeveloped attitude for cooperating with others and a negative orientation for abiding by the school's rules and regulations. The student is one who needs the help of an empathetic, caring teacher and counselor. S/He needs help in developing different perspectives on how s/he can belong and have esteem in a social setting. S/He must see that by using positive rather than negative behaviors s/he has significantly improved his/her chances to be accepted by others.

Procedures Used To Place Students

Students who repeatedly violate school rules shall be referred to a review panel by the principal. If referred, the panel makes the final decision on placement. The review panel is composed of a secondary principal, the AEP Coordinator, two (2) secondary teachers and the Director for Instructional and Pupil Services. The panel reviews the student's records and makes an appropriate recommendation to the Superintendent.

The student's school records, including disciplinary reports and other referral information, are examined and a decision is made concerning placement. To a large extent, this decision is based on a consideration of the individual student's ability to benefit from the alternative program.

The condition of placement would usually be an "extended suspension" rather than an expulsion. In this regard, the Superintendent is acting as the designee for the Board. The Board has authorized the Superintendent to make any placements and to inform the Board of these placements.

Parents/Guardians shall be given written notification of the proposed assignment to the AEP. Parents/Guardians will also be given the opportunity to meet with the home school administrative staff regarding the AEP assignment. The written notice to parents/guardians will contain a provision for signed parental consent. If the parents/guardians will not consent to the assignment, the student will be processed as an expulsion case and all appropriate procedures will apply. In cases of expulsion, the procedures outlined in the District's policy on Student Rights and Responsibility will be observed.

Procedures To Return To Regular Program

The minimum stay in the program will be forty-five (45) school days of attendance. At the end of the forty-five-day period, the entire AEP staff will evaluate the student's progress. All aspects of a student's behavior during his/her time in the AEP will be evaluated, academics-attitude-attendance, etc. If the majority of the staff indicates that a student has made sufficient progress, the coordinator will petition the home school Superintendent for re-entry to the regular educational program. Since Board approval is necessary for entry into the AEP, it will also be necessary for a student to leave the program. However, the Superintendent may act as the designee of the Board and inform them of his/her decision at their next meeting. Parents/ Guardians and the home school principal will be informed in writing as to the student's effective date of re-entry to regular education. Students who have not successfully completed the required amount of time in the program by the time school adjourns in June will begin the next school year with an assignment to the in-school suspension class.

AEP Staff

The AEP staff consists of a counselor/coordinator and certified secondary teachers. Instruction is provided in English, social studies, science, mathematics and physical education. The curriculum is designed to meet basic academic requirements. Students enrolled in advanced courses in the regular education program cannot have such courses accommodated in the AEP. Students with advanced courses will have to make individual tutoring arrangements. The AEP staff is selected primarily for its ability to work with disruptive or alienated youth and will possess counseling and behavior modification skills.

All staff members shall hold Pennsylvania teacher certification at the secondary level. Each member of the instructional staff shall be appropriately certified through the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Ideally, the evening coordinator will also hold administrative and/or guidance certification.

Other Programs

Other Alternative Education Programs used by the Governor Mifflin School District include the BCIU Alsace Wernersville AEP Manito Inc., KidsPeace/Advances, and other placements approved by the Board.

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