Alternate educational programs should be considered an opportunity for young children and teens to develop into better students and, in turn, better citizens. It becomes, then, a different way to teach a student that, for whatever reason, has not responded positively to a normal educational program. Alternative education may be considered by some as a repository for classroom rule-breakers, malcontents, and class clowns, but should be, as a primary purpose, a place where a student can learn what they wouldn't learn in a regular classroom.
The Middle School Learning Center is just that sort of school. With grades ranging from 5th to 8th, we focus on an individual child's needs.
Through intense individual counseling by both the S.A.F.E. Program and by the counselor here at the center, students receive more individualized instruction. We focus primarily on the responsibilities needed to become a more productive member of society, family, and school. Throughout the minimum 45 days needed in the program, students have a number of individual counseling sessions and at least one group session each day focusing on such topics as anger management, drug use and abuse, crime victimization, and the dangers of gangs.
Through small class sizes, ranging from three to eight students, teachers are able to focus on each child's academic needs. Also, by teaching the basic core classes (i.e., language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science), we try to give each student the opportunity to "catch up" on the basic necessities that were missed while the student was misbehaving.
Applied learning and technology is also available at the Middle School Learning Center to help guide the student toward a possible career. Through a fifth class, called "Explore!", the student is taught a myriad of subjects, including typing, the Internet, filling out a job application correctly, study habits, etc. Also, during this time, prominent business people and community leaders are brought in to mentor at-risk students and as role models. This class, we feel, is a way for the child to see how education affects his/her every day life.
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