MASSENA — The Massena Central School District is exploring bringing again an alternative education program, but it surely’s not a simple course of, in line with Superintendent Patrick H. Brady.
He recounted the historical past of the alternative education program in Massena by way of taking a look at information and talking with former Superintendent Douglas W. Huntley, who had created a committee to discover an alternative education program that was initially for junior highschool college students.
“This committee included teachers, board members, administrators and representatives of the St. Lawrence County Youth Bureau. It was really to create a program for students who didn’t really feel connected to school, to the traditional classroom, and provide support for them, as well as kind of a project-based and community-based so they would go to work sites as well as learn skills,” Mr. Brady mentioned.
In 2008-09, former Superintendent Roger B. Clough II began a restricted alternative education program with a few lecturers who have been educating math, science, English and social research
“There were two teachers in there and they would bring in a counselor from time to time. They were in the central office building. The second year, they moved the program over to the high school. At that point, in that second year, they brought in four core teachers, a coordinator, a counselor and some teachers for art and foreign language. It expanded to about 50 students. It expanded from grade six to nine. Eventually it went up to grade 12,” he mentioned.
That program lasted a number of years and was eradicated throughout a troublesome 2012-13 price range yr, when cuts have been being made all through the district.
Mr. Brady mentioned that in getting suggestions from among the individuals concerned with this system, it appealed to college students who didn’t do nicely in a conventional classroom, however fared higher in smaller lessons with project-based studying. Attendance charges elevated and self-discipline referrals decreased.
School board member Kevin F. Perretta mentioned it was vital to have a look at information reminiscent of commencement charges to see how profitable this system was. Graduation information for that specific group, nevertheless, wasn’t out there.
“I think it’s important look at that data because I think it might tell us something. The whole expectation was to create something that would raise the graduation rate. That was a very specific reason and, from my perspective — and I was here at the time — that was successful. But I don’t have that data. It was perceived as successful,” Mr. Perretta mentioned. “I’ve always been curious about this, if it showed anything or if it dropped off after it was cut.”
He mentioned he voted towards the price range that yr particularly due to the lower to the alternative education program.
“We’re at a point where we have a lot of money, and I haven’t read our district goals, but I reckon the gradual increase in the graduation rate is in there and if it costs the money to do that and this is going to provide a pipeline to get those students that need (assistance), I’d like to see some serious consideration of it,” Mr. Perretta mentioned.
Mr. Brady mentioned a bridging program is likely one of the district’s future issues. The aim of bridge packages is to sequentially bridge the hole between the preliminary abilities of scholars and what they should enter and achieve post-secondary education and employment. Some college students attend the Seaway Career and Technical Education Center in Norwood to be taught abilities that can be utilized following commencement.
“The issue with students has often been can we get them to Seaway Tech. They’re struggling in junior high, but they’re not going to get to Seaway Tech until 11th grade and, once they get to Seaway Tech, they have about a 93% graduation rate,” Mr. Brady mentioned. “So, that’s been successful, and that’s one of the reasons we’ve been looking closely also at this bridging program in 9th and 10th grade, and hopefully we can get that off the ground.”
He mentioned Massena and different districts had approached the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services about providing a program, however discovered little curiosity. But, the district would nonetheless prefer to discover it in its personal buildings.
“I guess my point is, if we’re going to look at something alternative, we’re going to have to take a close look at it because there will be significant costs of adding teachers at a time of the teacher shortage and what will the model be,” Mr. Brady mentioned. “I think we have to step back and look at, ‘OK, are there models out there now?’ I think if there’s an interest in looking at alternative education, I think it needs some further exploration. And what we usually do with this is we put it on for the board’s interest into a goal and start putting some resources towards it, to examine it.”