Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's High Noon for the Alt Ed Program

Tonight the board considers the difficult issue of where to place the Alternative Education program currently located at Tawanka. For anyone interested in the future of this highly successful program, I strongly encourage you to attend tonight's school board meeting (7pm, Board Room at Maple Point).

Most people seem to agree that the Eisenhower facility would be educationally preferable to the BELC due to more space and the ability to protect the privacy of the students in the program. The other school of thought is the BELC provides a good location for the Alt Ed program where a great staff of professionals can maintain a high level of success, and it allows for the possible lease/sale of Eisenhower.

During our Ed Development Committee meetings, Tawanka Principal Joann Holland made it very clear that if the Alt Ed program is to be successful up at the BELC, space would be a major concern and she has made some very specific requests in that regard. District administration has stated that they can accommodate the space needs of the program but so far has not committed to Ms. Holland's requirements.

Not everyone shares Ms. Holland's optimism for housing the Alt Ed program at the BELC. Several Tawanka staff members have come forward to say that the Alt Ed program cannot be nearly as successful at the BELC since those students will be in proximity to the very influences that put them in the program to begin with. Opponents of that view say that the program's success is due to the staff, and they can make the program successful wherever it's located.

There is no easy answer here and I wish my fellow board members good luck in finding the best solution during tonight's meeting. Unfortunately I am out of town this week on business, and since we do not have a remote participation policy, I cannot participate in the meeting. So like many of you, I'll have to wait for tomorrow's Courier Times to find out what happened.


JS said...

It's a shame that the board will most likely try to shoehorn the program into the high school. We'll renovate that area and ultimately find out that the program doesn't work there and it will be moved to Eisenhower anyway.

Even the Tawanka students don't want to go back. They realize that there a lot of bad influences as well as bad memories from that building. They realize to be successful they need to be isolated from those influences. The ones who have been out the longest may be able to make it, but the new additions to the program will be more susceptable.

I hope I'm wrong about the district AGAIN wasting money not looking at the big picture. I somehow doubt that they will look at education first, as they never do.

I'm sorry that you can not participate Mr. O'connor. Lets cross our fingers that the appropriate decision is made.

JS said...

A side note that I know you will not be able to address tonight at the meeting, but I will put it forth anyway.

The discussion has been to move those facilities offices currently at Eisenhower to the same BELC are of the High School. Included in the same area is moving shipping and receiving from Neshaminy Middle to the same area of BELC. If the Alt Ed program is moved there instead, will not the same issue arise with Eisenhower not being able to be leased anyway?