To date, alternative schools have mainly served as settings where more restrictive conditions are enforced to compensate for dangerous or disruptive behavior. There are inherent risks associated with not responding to the overwhelming reality that disciplinary alternative school settings are further crippling our youth when we don’t respond to the data.
The Risk in Alternative Schools
What does the data say? “Cumulatively, nearly 1 in 10 children entering 3rd grade experienced placement in a disciplinary alternative school by 12th grade.” Problem: There is a high risk in placing students in disciplinary alternative schools. There are systematically related predictors that are linked to the risk of subsequent juvenile detention. These predictors can be observed as early as 3rd grade and well into 12th grade.
A 360 Approach
Research suggests that as acceptance of the child grows, so does the progress of development in the child’s areas of opportunity. The iCan Dream Center surrounds every student, regardless of their history, with a team of therapists, teachers and administrators who are on the same page. That page requires that we are unconditionally positive about the student’s future and intentions with us. That page requires that our team accept the student’s social-emotional journey as our own, thereby creating a community that is uplifting and always creating ways to innovate for the student.
Shaping the minds of the next generation
We believe that this changes the nature of our alternative program to one that fosters growth in skills building, self-discipline, maturity, mental health, and heart.
It’s time we find new ways to empower students with challenging behaviors. There is massive value in making changes to the way we shape the minds of our youth. After all, one of them will take on the role of world leader one day.
1) Journal of Applied Research on Children, v5 n2 Article 14 2014
2) ZERO TO THREE, v37 n6 p37-43 Jul 2017