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Studies of Alternative Education

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Title: Studies of Alternative Education


1
Studies of Alternative Education Dropout
Prevention and Truancy
  • Department of Education Dropout Prevention Summit
  • October 28, 2008

2
  • About the Commission on Youth
  • The Commission is a standing legislative
    commission of the Virginia General Assembly. It
    was established in statue, 30-174 and 30-175,
    by the 1989 General Assembly.
  • It is comprised of twelve members six State
    Delegates, three State Senators and three
    citizens appointed by the Governor.
  • The Commission provides a legislative forum in
    which complex issues related to Virginia youth
    and their families can be explored and resolved.

3
  • About the Commission on Youth Members
  • From the Virginia House of Delegates
  • William H. Fralin, Jr., Chairman
  • Mamye E. BaCote
  • Robert H. Brink
  • Mark L. Cole Christopher K. Peace
  • Beverly J. Sherwood
  • From the Senate of Virginia
  • Harry B. Blevins, Vice Chair
  • R. Edward Houck
  • Yvonne B. Miller
  • Gubernatorial Appointments from the Commonwealth
    at Large
  • Mr. Anthony L. Dale (Richmond)
  • Ms. Joy Myers (Arlington)
  • Mr. Marvin H. Wagner (Fredericksburg)

4
  • About the Commission on Youth Role
  • Bridges the gap between the child-serving
    agencies and entities within the Commonwealth.
  • Conducts legislative studies to resolve issues.
  • Allows interested parties to become involved in
    the review and development of child and family
    policies.
  • Facilitates consensus.

5
  • About the Commission on Youth - Studies
  • Virginia Code 30-174 states that the Commission
    shall study and provide recommendations
    addressing the needs of and services to the
    Commonwealths youth and families.
  • The Commissions primary areas of concern are
  • Child Welfare Issues
  • Education
  • Child Health
  • Childrens Mental Health
  • Juvenile Justice
  • The Commission conducts legislative studies on
    issues related to youth and their families
    through research and data analysis.
  • Task forces and advisory groups are frequently
    utilized to provide subject-matter expertise and
    consensus.

6
  • Juvenile Justice/Public Safety Studies
  • Juvenile Records (2003)
  • Treatment Options for Juvenile Offenders with
    Mental Illness or Substance Abuse Disorders
    (2002)
  • Female Juvenile Offenders (2002)
  • Post-Dispositional Detention (2000)
  • Assessment of the Virginia Juvenile Community
    Crime Control Act (VJCCCA) Formula and the Role
    of the Offices on Youth (2000)
  • Juvenile Competency Issues in Legal Proceedings
    (1999)
  • Evaluation of the VJCCCA (1998)
  • Youth Gangs in Virginia (1997)
  • Juvenile Justice System Reform (1996)
  • Serious Juvenile Offenders (1993, 1994)
  • Feasibility of Mandatory Ten Year Follow-up for
    Juvenile Sex Offenders (1994)
  • Sexual Assault Cases (1993)

7
  • Mental Health Studies
  • Collection of Evidence-based Treatment Modalities
    for Children and Adolescents with Mental Health
    Treatment Needs (2003, 2005 and 2007)
  • At-Risk Youth Served in Out-of-State Residential
    Facilities (2006)
  • Dissemination of the Collection of Effective
    Treatment Modalities (2004)
  • Treatment Options for Offenders with Mental
    Illness or Substance Abuse Disorders (2002, 2004)
  • Youth with Emotional Disturbance Requiring
    Out-of-home Treatment (2001, 2002)
  • Youth Suicide Prevention Plan (2001)

8
  • Domestic Relations Studies
  • Strengthening Families (2005)
  • Joint Custody and Visitation (1999)
  • Model Child Custody and Visitation Schedule
    (1994)
  • General Studies
  • Childhood Obesity (2004)
  • Juvenile Records (2003)
  • Confidentiality of Juvenile Records (1994)
  • Education Studies
  • Truancy and School Dropout Prevention (2008/2009)
  • Alternative Education Options (2006-2009)
  • Student Discipline Statutes (2001)
  • Truants and Runaways (1998, 1999)
  • Educational Needs of Homeless Children (1998)
  • Confidentiality of Juvenile Records (1993)

9
  • Truancy and School Dropout Prevention
  • Alternative Education Options

10
Truancy and School Dropout Prevention Study
Mandate
  • In 2008, Delegate Franklin P. Hall introduced HB
    1263 which
  • required local school boards to implement school
    dropout prevention programs and services which
    emphasize truancy prevention and
  • amended the Code to address compliance with the
    compulsory school attendance law to strengthen
    the authority of local school boards.
  • Members of the House Education Committee
    determined that further study of these issues
    would be appropriate.

11
Truancy and School Prevention Dropout Study
Mandate (cont.)
  • Virginia Commission on Youth established the
    following goals to
  • review state laws and policies relating to the
    enforcement of compulsory school attendance,
    truancy and dropout prevention for consistency
    and clarity
  • review current initiatives overseen by the Board
    of Education (BOE) and the Department of
    Education (DOE)
  • review existing local practices
  • evaluate the new truancy certification data which
    will be submitted by local school divisions in
    the Fall of 2008
  • assess factors related to the causes of academic
    underachievement, chronic truancy and school
    dropout and determine whether such students
    should also be considered children in need of
    services for compulsory school attendance
    purposes
  • consider the need and efficacy of defining
    truancy and chronic truancy
  • determine the impact of suspensions, expulsions
    and other disciplinary actions on school dropout
    rates and whether disciplined students receive
    educational, social and community services during
    their suspension or expulsion from school and
  • recommend to the General Assembly such changes to
    state law and public policies and such other
    initiatives appropriate and necessary to
    implement a comprehensive approach to chronic
    truancy and dropout prevention.

12
Truancy and School Dropout Prevention Issues
  • Chronic truancy and school dropout rates are
    critical problems.
  • In certain areas of the Commonwealth, dropout
    rates exceed the annual state and national
    dropout rates.
  • Truancy affects students of all ages, communities
    and backgrounds.
  • Factors associated with school dropout are also
    linked to chronic truancy.
  • Unexcused absences from school are linked to
    numerous harmful social and personal
    consequences, such as
  • Academic failure, school dropout rates, crime and
    violence, unemployment, substance abuse, adult
    criminality and incarceration, unwanted pregnancy
    and social isolation.

13
Truancy and School Dropout Prevention Issues
(cont.)
  • The gap between dropouts and high school
    graduates is widening.
  • Declining graduation rates threaten Virginias
    economic stability to maintain a competitive
    advantage among industrialized nations.
  • Recent legislation was passed in 2006 which
    authorized
  • review and revise formulas to collect, analyze
    and report high school graduation and dropout
    data and
  • improve the collection, calculation, and
    interpretation of dropout data to effect greater
    consistency and quality in pupil accounting and
    reporting practices.
  • Comparable data on truants is not available.

14
Truancy and School Dropout Prevention Background
  • The cause of truancy and school dropouts vary
    among each student
  • family difficulties
  • drug and alcohol abuse
  • Illiteracy
  • teenage pregnancy
  • boredom in the classroom
  • school safety and
  • ineffective teaching staff.

15
Truancy and School Dropout Prevention Background
(cont.)
  • Truancy is costly due to lost of education
    funding, court costs and the need for on the job
    training for uneducated individuals.
  • Truancy is often considered an indication of
    future delinquent and criminal activity.
  • 48 of truants have a history of convictions
    compared to 14 of non-truants (out of 400
    youth).
  • Chronic truants are 12 times more likely than
    non-truants to report having committed a serious
    assault.
  • Chronic truants are also 21 times more likely to
    report having committed a serious property
    crime.
  • Chronic truants are 7 times more likely to be
    arrested than non-truants.

Source Virginia Commission on Youth. Study of
Truants and Runaways. (1999). Source Office of
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
(OJJDP). (2007).
16
Truancy and School Dropout Prevention Background
(cont.)
  • Truancy is a clear warning that youth may drop
    out of school.
  • Truancy is difficult to measure.
  • In Virginia, each division school adopts its own
    truancy policy.

17
School Dropout National Cost
  • Over a lifetime, a high school dropout
    contributes about 60,000 less in federal and
    state taxes.
  • Increasing the male graduation rate by only 5
    would result in a savings of 49 billion annually
    in crime-related costs.

Source Alliance for Excellent Education, The
High Cost of High School Dropouts What the
Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools,
2007. Source Alliance for Excellent
Education, Saving Futures, Saving Dollars The
Impact of Education on Crime Reduction and
Earnings, 2006.
18
School Dropout National Cost (cont.)
  • As of 1997, 41 of prison inmates and 31 of
    probationers 18 years and older had not graduated
    from high school or earned a GED, compared to 18
    of the general population.
  • The average dropout costs society more than
    800,000 over the course of his or her lifetime.

Source Harlow, C.W., Education and
Correctional Populations, Bureau of Justice
Statistics Special Report, January 2003, NCJ
195670. Source Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention. Truancy Prevention.
19
School Dropout Personal Cost
Bachelors Degree
High School Graduate
Source Alliance for Excellent Education, The
High Cost of High School Dropouts What the
Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools, 2007.
20
School Dropout Employment Rates
  • High school dropouts had only a 52 employment
    rate in 1999, compared to 71 for high school
    graduates and 83 for college graduates.
  • High school dropouts earned only 65 of the
    median earnings of those who worked full-time in
    1999 .

Source US Census Bureau 2000.
21
Truancy and School Dropout Prevention Study
Activities
  • Youth Roundtables
  • Convened youth roundtables throughout Virginia in
    partnership with the Virginia Boys Girls Clubs.
  • Site Visits
  • Scheduled site visits with local schools, school
    superintendents, departments of social services,
    court services units, JDR court judges, law
    enforcement and community organizations.

22
  • Truancy and School Dropout Prevention Study
    Activities (cont.)
  • Site Visits
  • Hampton City
  • Manassas/Prince William
  • Lee County
  • Roanoke City
  • Norfolk
  • Richmond City
  • Interviews
  • Department of Social Services Directors/Staff
  • Court Service Unit Directors/Staff
  • Juvenile Court Judges
  • Comprehensive Services Act Officials
  • Local School Division Representatives
  • Law Enforcement/Sheriffs
  • Private Providers/Nonprofit Representatives

23
  • Truancy and Dropout Prevention Study Activities
    (cont.)
  • Youth Roundtables
  • Danville
  • Hampton
  • Manassas
  • Norfolk
  • Richmond
  • Two Advisory Group Meetings
  • One Subcommittee Meeting
  • Subcommittee on Truancy
  • Subcommittee on Dropout Prevention

24
  • Truancy and Dropout Prevention Study Activities
    (cont.)
  • Advisory Group on Truancy and School Dropout
    Prevention

25
Identified Obstacles to Truancy and School Dropout
  • Lack of motivation
  • Family problems
  • Gang violence
  • Drug abuse
  • Bullying
  • Negative peer pressure
  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Boredom

26
Identified Obstacles to Truancy and School
Dropout (cont.)
  • Support from family
  • Peer pressure
  • Lack of empathy from school administrators
  • Additional teacher support (tests, personal)
  • Culture
  • Parents denial of student behavior
  • Overcoming low self-esteem

27
Resources Identified for Truancy and School
Dropout
  • After-school activities and centers
  • Older teenagers as mentors
  • Positive community leaders
  • Youth counselors
  • Family court (in some states)
  • Imposing mandatory GPAs to participate in sports

28
Identified Steps to Curb Truancy and School
Dropout
  • Provide anonymous peer counselors
  • Offer additional tutoring for standardized tests
  • Provide programs to improve low self-esteem
  • Change the image of attending school
  • Provide after school jobs
  • Give additional information on trade schools and
    careers
  • Increase teacher training
  • Improve school security
  • Make penalties stiffer for chronic truants
    (family court)

29
  • Truancy Findings

30
Disciplinary Laws Allow Students to be On the
Street When Suspended or Expelled
  • Suspension is frequently utilized for students
    with attendance problems.
  • In 2006-2007, there were over 18,530 instances of
    attendance suspensions of Virginia students.
  • Students who are suspended or expelled and do not
    receive educational services fall behind and
    become disengaged from school.
  • Time out of school increases antisocial acts,
    school vandalism, chronic truancy and the school
    dropout rate.

Virginia Department of Education. (2008). Annual
Report on Discipline, Crime and Violence.
31
Judicial Involvement is Inconsistent Among
Localities
  • Disagreement exists whether truancy belongs in
    the courts.
  • In some jurisdictions, there is close involvement
    with the courts Judges exhaust every remedy and
    frequently include school attendance in the Court
    Order.
  • In other jurisdictions, schools are discouraged
    from filing petitions for attendance issues.
  • Docket space is a huge problem.
  • Not all students are referred to the court for
    truancy.
  • There may be attempts to piggyback on other
    charges.

32
Punitive Measures May be Imposed Prior to
Referral of Services
  • When proceedings are instituted against a parent
    pursuant to 22.1-258 of the Code of Virginia,
    the parent may be found guilty of a Class 2 or
    Class 3 misdemeanor ( 22.1-263 of the Code).
  • While some judges may order the parent or family
    to receive services (counseling, substance abuse
    treatment) or to the Department of Social
    Services, others may not prior to imposition of
    jail or fines.
  • Service referral is frequently appropriate
    because truancy is usually a symptom of other
    serious problems.

33
Confusion Surrounding Information-Sharing Between
Courts and Law enforcement
  • Existing statutes addressing law enforcements
    ability to access juveniles information are
    unclear.
  • There is a lack of information sharing between
    court services units (CSU) and law enforcement
    about status of a juvenile.
  • Unclear whether CSU may share information with
    law enforcement without a court order.
  • Law enforcement not a party having legitimate
    interest to supervision records maintained by a
    CSU.

34
  • Dropout Findings

35
Insufficient Educational Options for Youth Not
Succeeding in Traditional School Setting
  • A common reason students drop out from school is
    disengagement.
  • Many students lose interest and motivation
    because the curriculum does not appear to have a
    real-world application.
  • Different education strategies that connect
    school and the real world would help bridge this
    gap.
  • In order to reduce the dropout rate, apathetic
    and disengaged students must be re-connected to
    education.

36
Career and Technical Education an Overlooked
Component in Dropout Prevention
  • Students frequently do not understand the link
    between education and career development.
  • Career and technical educational options can help
    students remain in and be successful in high
    school.
  • High-risk students are 8 to 10 times less likely
    to dropout in the 11th and 12th grades if they
    enroll in a career and technical program instead
    of a general program.
  • A quality career and technical program can reduce
    a schools dropout rate by as much as 6.

Association for Career and Technical Education.
(2007). Career and Technical Educations Role in
Dropout Prevention.
37
Unintended Consequences of School Divisions
Attendance Policies
  • Passing a class is typically tied to attendance.
  • Attendance policies may dictate that a student
    can pass a class only if they do not exceed a
    certain number of unexcused absences.
  • The grade earned would have no impact, so a
    student who exceeds the limit has no hope of
    catching up or passing.
  • For example, if the student had six or more
    unexcused absences in the first grading period,
    they may have already failed the class regardless
    what happens during the remainder of the school
    year.
  • If there is no hope for passing the class, the
    student may stop attending school altogether.

38
Shortage of School-based Prevention Programs
  • There is a shortage of school-based prevention
    programs which address violence prevention, anger
    management, conflict resolution and other
    behavioral health needs. Students with these
    needs are most at-risk for dropping out of school
  • While schools employ school counselors to help
    provide these services, their job duties have
    become more administrative in nature.
  • School counselors primary role, according to the
    Virginia Standards for School Counseling, is the
    delivery of services to meet the behavioral,
    personal/social, career and academic needs of
    their students.
  • A comprehensive school-based system offering
    prevention, identification and intervention
    services to school performance and healthy
    development is an effective dropout strategy.

39
Understanding of Family Challenges
  • A recurring issue associated with school dropout
    is family involvement.
  • Families participation in their childs
    education is viewed as one of the most important
    factors that influences the success or failure of
    the child in the classroom.
  • Other family factors may also impact a students
    decision to dropout.
  • Students may have to work to help support their
    family, have young children of their own to
    support or must care for a family member.
  • Understanding of these variables is needed in
    order to develop effective dropout prevention
    strategies.

40
Achievement Gap for Students Identified At-Risk
  • There is an achievement gap, as reflected in the
    on-time graduation rate, for students who are
    identified as disadvantaged.
  • In 2008, only 69.8 of disadvantaged students
    graduated on-time with a Board of
    Education-approved diploma.
  • The state average for all students is 81.3.
  • Disadvantaged students are those who qualify for
    the free and reduced price lunch program.

41
  • Truancy Recommendations

42
Recommendation 1 Disciplinary Laws Allow
Students to be On the Street When Suspended or
Expelled
  • Option 1 Request the Virginia Department of
    Education to offer guidance in the Model Code of
    Student Conduct to school divisions regarding
    options other than suspension or expulsion for
    instances of tardiness or attendance. (This
    recommendation was received from the Alternative
    Education Advisory Group.)
  • Option 2 Amend the Code of Virginia to prohibit
    the use of suspension or expulsion in all
    instances of tardiness or attendance.
  • Option 3 Amend the Code of Virginia to prohibit
    the use of suspension in all instances of
    tardiness or attendance.
  • Option 4 The Virginia Commission on Youth, with
    the Virginia Department of Education, will
    develop a resource which describes school
    divisions programs and partnerships that provide
    educational and support services for at-risk
    youth, as well as youth with attendance problems.
    This resource will also include information
    about private sector partnerships and
    best-practices that strive to keep youth
    connected to school.

43
Recommendation 2 Judicial Involvement is
Inconsistent Among Localities
  • Option 1 Request the Chief Justice of the
    Supreme Court of Virginia, through the Office of
    the Executive Secretary, to assist the Virginia
    Commission on Youth in its review of truancy
    matters, specifically the role of the judiciary,
    consistency of court practices, and judicial
    education, including the courts ability to order
    services for the family prior to the imposition
    of jail or fines. This would take place in the
    second year of the study.
  • Option 2 Monitor the Juvenile Justice and
    Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of
    2008, which includes an amendment to strengthen
    the Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders
    (DSO) requirement by eliminating the Valid Court
    Order (VCO) exception.

44
Recommendation 3 Punitive Measures May be
Imposed Prior to Referral of Services
  • Option 1 Request that the Chairman of the
    Virginia Commission on Youth write a letter to
    the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of
    Virginia to encourage training of Juvenile and
    Domestic Relations judges that addresses their
    ability to court-order services for families in
    truancy cases prior to initiation of other
    remedies.

45
Recommendation 4 Confusion Surrounding
Information-Sharing Between Courts and Law
enforcement
  • Option 1 Request the Virginia Commission on
    Youth to develop a carve out in 16.1-309.1 of
    the Code of Virginia to allow the Department of
    Juvenile Justice to release information to law
    enforcement about whether a juvenile, alleged to
    be a truant in violation of 22.1-258 of the
    Code of Virginia, is being detained in a secure
    facility.
  • Option 2 Request the Virginia Commission on
    Youth to develop a carve out in 16.1-309.1 of
    the Code of Virginia to allow the Department of
    Juvenile Justice to release information to law
    enforcement about whether a juvenile is being
    detained in a secure facility or who is on
    probation/parole if a juvenile is in the custody
    of law enforcement during school hours and if the
    juvenile is alleged to be a truant in violation
    of 22.1-258 of the Code of Virginia.
  • Option 3 Request the Virginia Commission on
    Youth to develop a carve out in 16.1-309.1 of
    the Code of Virginia to allow the Department of
    Juvenile Justice to release information to law
    enforcement about whether a juvenile is being
    detained in a secure facility or who is on
    probation/parole if a juvenile is in the custody
    of law enforcement and alleged to be a truant in
    violation of 22.1-258 of the Code of Virginia.
  • Option 4 Monitor the activities of the Virginia
    Crime Commission regarding the reorganization of
    Title 16.1, Chapter 11 which address CHINS and
    CHINSup, expungement and confidentiality of
    records.

46
  • Dropout Recommendations

47
Recommendation 5 Insufficient Educational
Options for Youth Not Succeeding in Traditional
School Setting
  • Option 1 Request that the Virginia Department
    of Education brief the Virginia Commission on
    Youth on the current status of 21st Century
    Schools in Virginia.

21st Century Schools provide learning
environments where students are fully engaged
with curriculum brought to life through creative
uses of technology. Recommendation 1, Option 4
also addresses this finding.
48
Recommendation 6 Career and Technical Education
an Overlooked Component in Dropout Prevention
  • Option 1 Request the Commission on Youth
    conduct a study/gap analysis of career and
    technical educational options available in the
    Commonwealth. Such a study will also include
    when is it most effective to introduce career and
    technical options. Potential linkages with the
    Tobacco Commission, the Virginia Manufacturers
    Association, the Community College system and the
    Virginia Workforce Council for workforce training
    will also be explored, as will the current Jobs
    for Virginia Graduates program. Commission staff
    will apply for relevant funding opportunities or
    grants to assist with the cost of this study.

49
Recommendation 7 Unintended Consequences of
School Divisions Attendance Policies
  • Option 1 Request the Virginia Board of
    Education to issue guidance to school divisions
    regarding the unintended consequences of
    attendance policies which may keep students from
    returning to school.
  • Option 2 Request the Virginia Board of
    Education to issue guidance regarding
    22.1-25313.4 of the Code of Virginia which
    allows schools to establish procedures to
    facilitate the acceleration of students without
    completing the 140-hour class, to obtain credit
    for such class upon demonstration of mastery of
    the course content and objectives and with the
    recommendation of the division superintendent.
  • Option 3 Request the Virginia Department of
    Education to report recommendations for a
    standardized definition of truancy to the
    Virginia Commission on Youth prior to the 2010
    Session of the General Assembly.

50
Recommendation 8 Shortage of School-based
Prevention Programs
  • Option 1 Request the Virginia Department of
    Education to survey/gather information on
    existing, non-traditional programs for the
    development of best-practice guidelines effective
    in serving students.
  • Option 2 The Virginia Commission on Youth, in
    partnership with the Virginia Department of
    Education, will survey/gather information on
    existing, non-traditional programs for the
    development of best-practice guidelines effective
    in serving students.
  • Option 3 Request the Virginia Department of
    Education to work with school divisions to
    develop equitable task assignments so that school
    counselors can provide the vital services for
    which they were trained. These services include
    those school-based prevention services that
    address issues such as violence prevention, anger
    management, conflict resolution and other
    behavioral needs of their students.

51
Recommendation 9 Understanding Family Challenges
  • Option 1 The Virginia Commission on Youth will
    meet with both students and parents to request
    their input in this study effort. These meetings
    will take place immediately and continue in the
    second year of the study.

52
Recommendation 10 Achievement Gap for Students
Identified At-risk
  • Option 1 Write a letter to be sent to the
    members of the Subcommittees on Education for the
    House Appropriations and Senate Finance
    Committees requesting that Virginias at-risk
    add-on funds which are appropriated to offset the
    higher cost of educating economically
    disadvantaged students, be preserved. (Developed
    at the request of the Advisory Group.)

53
  • Study of Alternative Education Options

54
  • Study of Alternative Education Options
  • The Commission on Youth will study alternative
    education program options and report findings to
    the Commission on Youth prior to the 2009 General
    Assembly Session.
  • Issues to be studied include
  • utilization of suspension and expulsion
  • gaps in service in alternative education
    placements
  • the reasons that students may not be offered
    educational services
  • school-based prevention programs and funding
  • definition of alternative education and
  • need for alternative education programs.

55
Study of Alternative Education Options (cont.)
  • Investigated options for students not succeeding
    in the public school system and at-risk of
    dropping out, including
  • a second tier of regional alternative education
    programs
  • private educational and other alternative
    educational options
  • requirements for students who have fulfilled the
    pre-GED requirements, but are not otherwise
    eligible to test for the GED and
  • special academies for over-age students.

56
Alternative Education Options Study Activities
  • Reviewed expulsion and suspension data
  • Reviewed state/federal requirements for school
    divisions suspension and expulsion policies
  • Reviewed alternative education approaches in
    Virginia
  • Site visits of local and regional programs
  • Convened Advisory Group
  • COY/DOE survey of Alternative Education Options
    in Virginia
  • Compiled survey results into a Guide
  • Reviewed Virginias school-based prevention
    programs and funding
  • Assessed need for second tier of regional
    alternative education programs

57
  • Survey of Alternative Education Programs
  • Surveyed 132 school divisions.
  • Requested information on
  • structure of schools/programs
  • funding source
  • types of students served
  • waiting lists
  • gaps in service and
  • students who were not offered any educational
    service.

58
  • Survey Findings
  • Local program design varies significantly.
  • Students may have to wait to receive alternative
    education services this is particularly true for
    divisions utilizing regional programs.
  • Identified program challenges include inability
    to provide more instructional time, lack of
    facility space, transportation concerns, and
    retaining qualified staff.
  • Lack of family involvement/interest is the
    challenge most frequently identified.
  • Some students not successful in a traditional
    school setting.

59
FREDERICK
CLARKE
Division had regional and local programs
Manassas Park
Winchester
LOUDOUN
Falls Church
WARREN
Arlington
Alexandria
Division had only regional programs
FAUQUIER
SHENANDOAH
Manassas
FAIRFAX
PRINCE
RAPPAHANNOCK
Division had local programs
WILLIAM
ROCKINGHAM
PAGE
CULPEPER
STAFFORD
HIGHLAND
MADISON
Harrisonburg
KING
Staunton
GREENE
GEORGE
Fredericksburg
ORANGE
SPOTSYLVANIA
AUGUSTA
BATH
WESTMORELAND
ALBEMARLE
ESSEX
Waynesboro
CAROLINE
LOUISA
RICHMOND
Charlottesville
ROCKBRIDGE
NORTHUMBERLAND
Lexington
FLUVANNA
Covington
ACCOMACK
LANCASTER
HANOVER
NELSON
KING QUEEN
KING
Buena
GOOCHLAND
Vista
WILLIAM
MIDDLESEX
ALLEGHANY
AMHERST
BUCKINGHAM
West Point
POWHATAN
NEW
HENRICO
GLOUCESTER
BOTETOURT
CUMBERLAND
KENT
MATHEWS
JAMES
Richmond
NORTHAMPTON
CRAIG
CHARLES
CITY
APPOMATTOX
CHESTERFIELD
CITY
AMELIA
ROANOKE
Williamsburg
Colonial
GILES
BEDFORD
Lynchburg
Hopewell
PRINCE
Salem
Heights
BUCHANAN
YORK
PRINCE
Poquoson
EDWARD
CAMPBELL
GEORGE
NOTTOWAY
MONTGOMERY
Roanoke City
SURRY
Petersburg
BLAND
Hampton
DICKENSON
TAZEWELL
DINWIDDIE
Newport News
Radford
WISE
CHARLOTTE
PULASKI
ISLE
FRANKLIN
LUNENBURG
SUSSEX
Norfolk
OF
RUSSELL
FLOYD
Norton
WIGHT
WYTHE
SMYTH
PITTSYLVANIA
Franklin
Portsmouth
BRUNSWICK
VIRGINIA BEACH
LEE
CHESA- PEAKE
Emporia
CARROLL
MECKLENBURG
SOUTH- AMPTON
Danville
HALIFAX
SUFFOLK
WASHINGTON
SCOTT
Martinsville
GRAYSON
Galax
Bristol
GREENSVILLE
PATRICK
HENRY
Alternative Education Programs for Suspended
Expelled Students in Virginia 2005 and 2006
Source Virginia Commission on Youth
Superintendents Survey on Alternative Education
Options, 2007.
60
  • Study Findings

61
  • Students Not Receiving Educational Services
  • There are gaps in alternative education services
    in Virginia, such as placements for middle school
    students and credit recovery for overage middle
    and high school students.
  • Existing alternative education programs do not
    have the capacity to keep students permanently,
    even if students are succeeding.
  • In 2007-2008, the number of slots funded was
    1,882.
  • 3,996 students were served by regional programs.
  • 26 of the 30 programs indicated that they would
    have placements for all slots assigned to each
    division.
  • 26 slots were transferred in four of the 30
    regional alternative programs.
  • The requested number of additional slots totaled
    413.
  • Over 50 of alternative education programs
    reported their primary goal as transitioning
    students back to their regular academic
    setting.
  • Students frequently have to wait to receive
    alternative education services particularly for
    divisions utilizing regional programs.

Virginia Board of Education Report on Regional
Alternative Education Programs, 2007. Virginia
Commission on Youth Survey of Alternative
Education Programs, 2007.
62
  • Effective Disciplinary Programs in Virginia
  • With repeat utilization of suspension or
    expulsion, the probability increases that a
    student will fall farther behind academically.
  • Training school staff and educators in effective
    classroom management may increase the consistency
    of discipline and can reduce suspensions and
    expulsions.
  • A schoolwide system of effective disciplinary
    practices contributes to improved academic
    performance and social behavior.

63
  • Lack of Clarity about Alternative Education
  • There is no consistent and established definition
    of what an alternative program/school is and what
    components must be present.
  • The term "alternative education" covers all
    educational activities that fall outside the
    traditional K-12 school system, including
    vocational programs, special programs for gifted
    children and programs for the handicapped.
  • A broad definition of alternative education
    programs is important for program development and
    evaluation.

64
  • No Central Point of Contact for Alternative
    Education
  • In Virginia, there is no central point of contact
    or office for information about alternative
    education programs.
  • Improving coordination of alternative education
    programs would allow for improved utilization and
    transition of students from alternative to
    traditional educational settings.
  • Such a contact could monitor and advise on
    policies and procedures, conduct training, review
    and assist with data collection and develop
    start-up processes.

65
  • Lack of Guidelines for Local Alternative
    Education Programs
  • In Virginia, there are approximately 160 local
    alternative education programs and all are
    diverse.
  • Students enrolled in alternative education
    programs frequently need stronger program
    components to help them catch up and to be
    successful.
  • Great diversity among local alternative education
    programs
  • 20 of local alternative education programs do
    not allow students to earn verified credits.
  • Per pupil program cost ranged from 100 to
    22,702, with median cost being 6,000.
  • Half of all local programs were entirely locally
    funded.
  • 25 of local alternative education programs
    operate fewer than 20 hours per week.

Virginia Commission on Youth Survey of
Alternative Education Programs, 2007.
66
  • Tracking Students After Referral to Alternative
    Education
  • Frequently is unknown what happens to students
    after they are referred to alternative education.
  • Students could
  • successfully transition to their home school,
  • remain in the alternative program/school,
  • drop out, or
  • leave the program but later return or acquire a
    GED.
  • Tracking students could help determine whether
    they were returning to and re-enrolling in their
    home school.
  • Tracking would also help show which alternative
    education programs were successfully
    transitioning students to their home schools or
    helping them to secure a diploma or a GED.

67
  • Career Technical Education
  • BOE recognized the connection between students
    connectedness to school and school safety in its
    Comprehensive Plan.
  • Educational options that respond to students
    diverse needs, such as career and technical
    educational options, can help students remain in
    and be successful in high school.

68
  • Recommendations

69
Recommendation 1 Students Not Receiving
Educational Services
  • Option 1 Introduce legislation to amend
    22.1-209.12 of the Code of Virginia to provide
    that regional alternative education options may
    also be utilized for students at-risk of a
    long-term suspension as authorized by the school
    superintendent. Due process protections
    regarding notice, hearings, and appeals required
    for students who are suspended or expelled are
    required when a regional alternative education
    placement is recommended for students deemed
    at-risk of receiving a long-term suspension.
    Also, clarify that Section of the Code refers to
    regional programs.
  • Option 2 Introduce a budget amendment to allow
    school divisions not currently participating in a
    regional alternative education program or
    participating, but not allotted slots, to join an
    existing regional alternative education program
    and be allocated state slots. There are
    approximately 16 affected school divisions
    Albemarle, Arlington, Buchanan, Chesterfield,
    Frederick, Surry, Warren, Charlottesville,
    Covington, Falls Church, Portsmouth, Loudoun,
    Page, Rockingham, Winchester, and Colonial Beach.
    (The fiscal impact is still to be determined.)
  • Option 3 Introduce a budget amendment for 413
    additional slots in the regional alternative
    education programs. These slots could be
    utilized for students who are not succeeding in
    the public school setting, as well as address the
    existing shortage of slots. (The fiscal impact
    is 1,581,790 - 3,707 per slot x 413.)

70
Recommendation 2 Effective Disciplinary
Programs in Virginia
  • Option 1 Request that the Chairman of the
    Virginia Commission on Youth write a letter to
    the Board of Education to ask that the revisions
    to the Standards of Accreditation (SOA) be
    amended to include provisions for requiring
    schools exhibiting suspension and expulsion rates
    above the state average implement evidence-based
    intervention programs designed to improve
    suspension and expulsion rates.

71
Recommendation 3 Lack of Clarity Regarding
Alternative Education
  • Option 1 Introduce legislation to include a
    definition of alternative education programs in
    the Code of Virginia which is consistent with
    22.1-253.131. that describes instructional
    programs supporting the Standards of Learning
    (SOLs) and other educational objectives. This
    legislation would specify that alterative
    education options are for students whose needs
    are not met in programs prescribed elsewhere, as
    set forth in the SOLs. Alternative education
    will be replaced by nontraditional education
    except when referring to regional alternative
    education programs.

72
Recommendation 4 No Central Point of Contact
for Alternative Education
  • Option 1 Request that the Chairman of the
    Virginia Commission on Youth write a letter
    requesting the Superintendent of Public Education
    establish a central point of contact within the
    Virginia Department of Education in the area of
    nontraditional education options.

73
Recommendation 5 Lack of Guidelines for Local
Alternative Education Schools/Programs
  • Option 1 Request that the Chairman of the
    Virginia Commission on Youth write a letter
    requesting the Virginia Board of Education
    establish model guidelines for locally-created
    alternative education programs consistent with
    the guidelines established for the regional
    alternative education programs.

74
Recommendation 6 Tracking Students After
Placement in Alternative Education
  • Option 1 Request that the Chairman of the
    Virginia Commission on Youth write a letter
    requesting that the Virginia Department of
    Education establish a mechanism for school
    divisions to use the individual student tracking
    number system to indicate whether a student is
    enrolled in their home school, in a local
    alternative setting or in a regional alternative
    school.

75
Recommendation 7 Career and Technical Education
  • Option 1 Request the Virginia Commission on
    Youth to evaluate policies and goals for career
    and technical education services, career and
    technical education needs and gaps in services
    that address identified needs of career and
    technical education programs in the Commonwealth.

76
  • Questions

77
  • Contact Information
  • Amy M. Atkinson
  • Executive Director
  • Virginia Commission on Youth
  • General Assembly Building, Suite 269
  • Richmond, Virginia 23219
  • (804) 371-2481
  • aatkinson_at_leg.state.va.us
  • Commissions web address
  • http//coy.state.va.us
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