Lead teacher Sean Adams has a quick and firm response to anyone who thinks Mansfield City Schools’ Alternative School is simply a place for students to sit idly in detention.
“We’re here to meet all students’ needs, help make their school experience successful and get them on a path to graduation,” Adams said.
The Alternative School has relocated from the Hedges building on Mansfield’s east side to the 1300 wing of Mansfield Senior High, a move Adams welcomes. “Being in this building (Senior High) is a positive thing for our students,” Adams said. “Instead of being in an old building across town they will be in the same building with their peers.”
Superintendent Brian Garverick, who headed the Alternative School for several years earlier in his career, agreed. “This absolutely is a positive move. There are concentrated student supports at the high school. It is beneficial for the total program,” he said.
Students may be assigned to the Alternative School because of disciplinary or chronic attendance problems. Some simply aren’t doing well in a conventional classroom setting.
Adams and his staff expect to begin the year with approximately 10 students in grades seven through 12. The number may fluctuate throughout the year. “Whatever the number, our ultimate goal is to get students back into their home schools, either Mansfield Middle School or Senior High,” he said. “Our highly qualified teachers will build positive relationships and model correct behavior.”
The Alternative School follows the same curriculum as others schools – language arts, social students, math, science – but students will earn grades and credits by more nontraditional routes. Seventh- and eighth-graders will utilize blended learning – a combination of direct teacher instruction and online learning — while high school students will have a computer-based curriculum.
“Some students don’t function well in a traditional school environment,” Adams said. “We offer a more structured environment, more one-on-one instruction.”
The Alternative School will operate on a staggered schedule, starting at 8 a.m. and dismissing at 2 p.m. The regular high school and middle school schedule is 7:35 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. As long as they meet Alternative School criteria, students may attend regular school pep rallies and dances and participate in sports, clubs or other extracurricular activities.
“We can assure the community that our focus is on working to see that each student has success academically and as a person and is prepared to return to their home school as soon as possible” Adams said. “That’s our promise.”