Operation will be run out of South Providence next year
After operating for a year out of Cuthbertson High, Union County’s Alternative to Long Term Suspension is relocating. School officials said the ALTS program will move back to South Providence this fall, although nothing yet has been committed to paper.
“The program went very smoothly at Cuthbertson last year and served our students quite well,” Union County Schools Superintendent Ed Davis said. “Our goal is to continue to provide a quality program for our students at South Providence.”
Last year, the district launched what they termed as a pilot program, using Cuthbertson High’s ‘G’ wing to house students facing long term suspension. Violent offenders were not allowed in the program, including those who made bomb threats or brought a weapon of any type to school. The program itself has been in existence since 2005, allowing students who have been suspended to earn classroom credits while away from their home school.
Of the 30 students who were eligible for the ALTS program last year, 16 decided to enroll. 12 of the 16 enrolled students completed the program, with four being dismissed for various violations. Overall, Parkwood High had the largest number of students in the program, with four, while Cuthbertson High was in second, with three students attending as part of ALTS. Forest Hills, Monroe High, Porter Ridge and Sun Valley High all had two students work with the program.
Cuthbertson High’s ‘G’ wing was selected to house the program last year because the school didn’t have enough students to need that part of the facility. With the student body growing however, things changed for this upcoming year. Last year, 922 students enrolled at Cuthbertson. This year, the number is expected to climb to 1057. With the wing of the school no longer available, the district decided to relocate back to South Providence.
“(Moving the program) is strictly due to the increased enrollment at Cuthbertson,” Union County Public Schools Chief Communications Officer Luan Ingram said. “It has nothing to do with any complaints.”
Parents from Cuthbertson High challenged the program last fall, questioning the way the program was launched, the kind of kids that would be on school grounds and what they saw as unfair treatment. The school board and count system disagreed, allowing the program to continue throughout the year.
Contrary to the original fears and reservations, parents have been generally pleased with the results of the program, school officials said. The district polled parents of each child entered into the program, asking how they would rate the intake process, instructional and procedural parts of the project. On a scale of 1-10, the average response was around a 9.4 to each question.
“It’s a good opportunity for students who have been (in) long term (suspension) and are trying to get their credits,” wrote one parent as part of their poll.
Likewise, students have responded positively as well, district officials say, adding they also polled the kids who were involved. The majority rated their experience between good and okay.
“I feel that I had an experience that I don’t want to approach again, but I would like to say thank you,” wrote one student who took part in ALTS, as part of his poll. “This has made me a better person and has taught me a lesson that is necessary for me to soak in.”