Alternative program set

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Students who now find themselves in trouble in the Opp City School system won’t lose out on valuable instruction time, after board members voted Tue-sday to implement a new alternative education program.

Curr-ently, administrators utilize other methods for disciplinary actions such, as in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension and expulsion, said Superintendent Michael Smithart.

“The increase in student academic and behavioral problems has necessitated the formation and implementation of an alternative education program,” Smithart said in a memo to board members.

“We propose to house this program on the campus of Opp High School and staff the center with an individual holding both teacher and administrative certification.”

Smithart said the salary for the position will be based upon the state teacher matrix for nine-month employees, and the source of funding will be a combination of at-risk and other state funds combined with federal funds.

Smithart said the first step was for the board to authorize the program.

Now school officials will work with Lance Mc-Collough, who had transferred to the at-risk coordinator and alternative placement director, to develop the exact procedures for the system’s program.

Still, Smithart told board members he’d like to see students actually have instruction rather than simply completing worksheets sent by their teachers.

“We have the technology to design individualized programs of study,” he said.

Smithart said the school system could utilize state initiatives such as ACCESS, the high school distance education program in Alabama that launched in 2004.

Traditionally, students who are suspended receive class work, but aren’t present for the actual instruction.