The IEP Alternative Education is a series of programs aimed at providing an option to traditional school programs. Over the years, alternative schools have been assumed to be places where disruptive students can be warehoused “until they have learned their lesson”. While IEP does run schools for disruptive youth, our schools are nothing like the warehouses of old. We believe that these students are excluded from their traditional school “as punishment”, but they are not sent to us “for punishment”.
Non-traditional approaches to academics tailored to the unique needs of each student increases the chances of his/her success. The behavioral modification model helps students learn self-control and develop a sense of self. They experience success which makes them more receptive to the instruction, counseling, mentoring, career and other opportunities being offered to them. Community service and employment success become an opportunity for a better way of life for these students.
Our organization feels that it is critical that these students extend their learning beyond the classroom. It is during employment or performing community service that students can best learn the lessons of responsibility and acquire work ethics and soft skills. The students in our alternative programs have been deficient in these areas. A student cannot reach his/her potential unless they have been shown the possibilities. Our career counselors test for the student\’s interests, discuss with the student what jobs are available in that vocation, help the student discover what is required to obtain those jobs, and map out an academic and vocational strategy to fulfill their dream.
IEP\’s alternative school program is designed to prepare disconnected, vulnerable youth with options for adult living. Students will work with instructional staff, utilizing computer-assisted instruction, to master the skills necessary to meet the academic standards. Accelerated credit recovery will help to bridge the transition from a disconnected life to a meaningful life through completion of a high school diploma or a GED and exposure to career options, post secondary training, and work opportunities.
We believe that all children can learn and will learn given the proper conditions. Our task is to help these students get a “leg up” so that they can return to their sending school much more prepared to deal with the academic rigor and behavioral expectations of that school and society as a whole.
DROPOUT PREVENTION AND ACCELERATED CREDIT RECOVERY
IEP has designed a unique program to increase graduation rates among students who have literally – or figuratively – “dropped out” of school. Our program intervenes when when students have fallen so far behind in credit accumulation that they have little or no chance of graduating from traditional high school before reaching the maximum age.
We set up small, independent schools in locations that are integrated throughout the community, adjacent to mass transportation hubs and other easily accessible venues. We utilize a blended curriculum that encourages learning and a team that understands the challenges of working with disconnected, unmotivated students.
We have found that students respond to our Accelerated School Program with a new found sense of purpose, gaining not only a high school diploma, but also confidence. When compared to a traditional high school setting, our program offers key advantages, such as:
A HIGHLY-DEDICATED AND EXPERIENCED LEADERSHIP TEAM
Our talented staff is specially-trained to deal with the day-to-day dilemmas that accompany this type of student and have had anti-bullying and passive restraint training. The staff is dedicated, focused, nurturing, and are leaders in their field.
- Social-emotional learning is critical to our student’s growth as individuals. We lead students through the discovery of their own emotions by teaching them how to regulate emotions, manage and utilize feedback and consider the perspective and feelings of others.
- We understand the needs of special education students. IEP’s Senior Management has over fifty years of experience in special education, enabling us to easily adapt our lesson plans and teaching style to meet the needs and learning styles of the students.
STRATEGIC COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
- Partnering with the local Housing Authority allows us to more easily recruit and retain students, as well as monitor their daily attendance. Our schools are set up in the heart of the neighborhoods where many of the students live, making it easier for them to get to school and for us to individually follow-up with absent students each day.
- Our team works closely with a local social service agency to provide our students services such as case management, group and individual mental health counseling, retention counseling, and employment services.
A STATE-COMPLIANT CURRICULUM WITH AN EMPHASIS ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- We use a blended learning model which integrates technology and teacher-led instruction to facilitate learning in the schools. The software allows students to move at their own pace and revisit concepts and problems that are particularly challenging to them. While the educational software is state-of-the-art, we believe it is our supplemental teaching and auxiliary materials that help students master the course work.
- Internships and community service help students understand their role in the community. We believe lessons such as social responsibility and work ethic can be best learned through community service or on the job.
- Our career and college counselors work with students to test for and discuss their interests, while helping them determine a career, or vocation, and then establish the steps needed to accomplish their job goals.
SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTS THAT MIRROR THE WORKPLACE
- Our schools are safe, comfortable, and non-threatening, creating an environment that fosters learning, responsibility, and achievement.
- A “workplace like” model means students are expected to act as if they are in the business world. They learn to treat each other and the staff with respect, as they will need to do in their job one day.
- Behavior, dress code, and expectations are spelled out in the Student Manual. Each student receives an individual orientation which includes a thorough explanation of the student code. The code is clear, fair and includes consequences for violations.