Regular Public School or Alternative Public School?

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LynnInVa
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08 Jan 2008, 1:07 pm

if you had a choice, where would you send your child?

here's a description of the Alternative Eduction Program in our system.

"The AEP offers middle and high school students an alternative format (block schedule), smaller sized classes (maximum 15 students per class), and varied instructional approaches as an alternative way to school success. This voluntary program currently serves 155 students who come from all areas of ***** County. Each year about half of the graduates enter competitive employment while the other half of the school's graduates continue their education, predominantly at the community college level. The AEP serves about 180 students per year."

What do you think?



Tortuga
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08 Jan 2008, 1:57 pm

I would not go for it at all. If you do live in the state of Virginia, Alternative Education, generally means its for emotionally disturbed kids. At middle school and high school level, this means kids who use drugs, have truancy problem, maybe mental illness, or delayed cognitive function with behaviors that bother teachers.

Alternative approach, means it's watered. 50% of the students go to work (or graduate without having a job) and 50% go to community college (not 4-yr and neither does it say if they are capable of completing 2-yr degree).

--- edited to add. not just emotionally disturbed kids, but those with conduct disorders.



ster
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08 Jan 2008, 2:59 pm

it really depends on your child.....my son is in alternative ed setting. the majority of students are bipolar and/or depression. they are in this small setting because their children did not thrive in a larger setting ( their home schools)....the students are not violent, just anxious & "moody".
it should be possible for you to visit the school in question and see if it would be a good fit for your child. not every school is a good fit for every child. we actually had the choice of 3 different schools for our son, and chose the one we did because it looked most like a small private high school setting~not like a lockdown facility.....



katrine
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08 Jan 2008, 3:58 pm

Also depends on how your child deals with large classes, noise ect. and whether he/she would gain from more individualized teaching strategies. How is he/she doing now?
In my region, there has been no alternative but mainstream highschool until now - there is a pilot class for ASD kids at a highschool this year, I hope it is still there when my son is highschool age, because however much I would like him to go to normal highschool, it probably won't be an option.



Tortuga
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08 Jan 2008, 4:24 pm

Alternative Education Program where I live would not be appropriate for a person with ASD. It really should be called .... Program for Conduct Disorders. (conduct disorder is deliberate behavior..much more destructive than emotional disturbance).

It would not be like being in a small classroom with ASD children. Kids with conduct disorders can manipulate and torture kids with ASD.



LynnInVa
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09 Jan 2008, 6:19 am

Thanks for all the replies.

Tortuga - yes we're in VA. I wasn't sure if Virginia's AEP is as you describe.

To make sure I explore every available option out there, I'm going to visit the school and see what it's all about.

Thanks again for the input, it helps to be able to throw ideas around with people who understand.



Tortuga
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09 Jan 2008, 3:36 pm

I'm so down on the public school system in my county (in Virginia). A year ago, they tried to get me to sign off on a separate school for my son. The school was for severely emotionally disturbed children (bipolar, etc...). Their behavior was bad enough to keep them out of mainstream schools completely.

There was only one other autistic student at the proposed school. They tried to sell me on it as if it was some wonderful place. I visited the school with a child advocate and both of us were appalled. They would not let me see the school when children were present for privacy issues. I also would not have been allowed to visit the school with children present even if my son was there. They denied my request to allow a private psychologist to evaluate the proposed placement for me, even though the psychologist I hired had several patients who were students at that school.

They had all of these men there who looked like P.E. teachers. Only they were not gym teachers. They were for discipline and the program was authorized to use restraint on students. Restraint was never necessary for my son, but I was certain his behavior would have gotten so much worse if he saw other kids getting restrained. He would have thought that was normal.

I talked to the principal of that program (it wasn't allowed to be called a school..it was technically a program, and she was 100% clueless on autism. I ran out of that place as fast as I could and filled out paperwork to homeschool my boy.

If a placement change is proposed for your child, I would check it out with an advocate. They are not that expensive.

I do know that AEP on the middle and high school level would contain a lot of street smart, bully-types.



KristaMeth
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12 Jan 2008, 6:27 pm

I was in alternative school in high school. Where I'm from alternative school is a means of punishment, and the big ones are filled with some pretty hardcore roughians.

So I'd gotten into quite a bit of trouble over and over again. The school I was in at the time was really small, and there was only a max of 4 people in the alternative class when I went. It was really quiet, and only 4 hours long. We sat still most of the time which was torturous for me, but I did get straight A's right before I dropped out because of it. It was nice and quiet and the teacher just left us alone with the work our regular teachers sent us. Remember though, this is retarded hick school alternative. Even the next city over had a huge alternative school with all the bad kids in it. I'd have feared for my life if I had to go to that one. Definitely no straight A's.

The problem with some of these "alternative" schools is that they may even treat your child a little "special" when in reality maybe all they need is just peace and quiet to work (instead of constant chattering that the teachers never seemed to care to stop). That was all I needed.


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Triangular_Trees
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12 Jan 2008, 8:44 pm

Unless your child has some type of learning disability that causes you to think he's unlikely to ever attend college, I wouldn't even consider sending him to a school that only sends half of their graduates to college. I'd rather send him somehwere that stacks the odds in his favor for becoming a "successful" adult.



ouinon
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13 Jan 2008, 9:43 am

neither; would homeschool, as am doing.

Schools are sweatshops for creating and maintaining an elite, for excluding, by discouragement, most people from empowerment around knowledge.
To produce impression that knowledge is rare and hard work spend 100s of times more time on the business of learning to read, write, do maths, and few other things that actually stay in head after leave, than is necessary.
Avoid like plague. Do not send your child to work in the factories making money and power for the few.

8)



LynnInVa
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14 Jan 2008, 6:39 am

thanks for the replies, everyone.
if i could quit work and homeschool i would - don't get me wrong. but it's just not going to happen.
i have to stick with public schools until i win the lotto :?

krista - you said it - E is always complaining of too much noise, too much chatter. she is allowed to take a sensory break when ever she needs it.

but alternative school - no - i'm not even going to touch it with a 10 ft pole!

thanks again for all the replies :)



runswithscissors
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20 Jan 2008, 1:04 pm

I live in NYS. My son is a senior at a school very much like the one you describe, though it is smaller and also handles kids with other issues (severe ADD, controlled BP and schiz, Tourettes). All of the kids are of at least high average intelligence and many are in the superior range. We are SO happy with this program. My son will be going on to community college in the fall but has the chance to take career counseling and vocational education before or after college.

My son fell through the cracks at our local HS and would probably be a drop-out.

We thought about homeschooling, but really wanted him to be around peers. He has them now. He goes bowling, to the movies, iceskating, paintballing, etc. with friends from his school (who come from all over our county, there is only one other kid from our town in his grade and that's a girl).

I would seriously consider it, at least go take a look and maybe have him attend for a day.



LynnInVa
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22 Jan 2008, 6:30 am

That sounds like a great program your son is in. I do wish it was like that here, but it's not. The Alt school I was looking at is mainly for kids with behavior problems.
E is going into 6th next year - and I was informed that there isn't a middle school program (I don't know why the school's website says it is though :?:



ster
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22 Jan 2008, 6:36 am

have you looked into any private schools ?........my son had terrible difficulties with middle school. partly because of the newness of it all, but mostly due to the larger setting.



LynnInVa
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22 Jan 2008, 9:58 am

Ster - I haven't checked on private schools.

same as homeschooling - I need to win the lottery first :lol: