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Editorial: Alternative programs meet students’ needs

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Without special efforts by local districts, dozens of students might never have completed their high school courses.

Some were students who hadn’t finished because of life circumstances, such as the need to earn money for the household or because they become parents. Others were students who found themselves unable to focus properly in a traditional classroom. Still others had dropped out of school short of graduation and needed only a few credits to earn a diploma.

All received help and found success through alternative academies operated by local public school districts.

Earlier this month, we shared the stories of some of the graduates. One was a young man in jail on a drug charge. His mother brought his 2-year-old son to the jail, hoping that he would see how he needed to focus on the future for the benefit of his son.

The shock treatment worked. He enrolled at Clark-Pleasant Academy and earned the credits he needed to graduate. He now plans to find a job and then enroll at Ivy Tech Community College for technical training.

Another student struggled with mathematics. But help from the Indian Creek Learning Center allowed him to complete his courses. His goal is to become a professional firefighter.

At Central Nine Career Center, staff members work with students to tailor their coursework to their career objectives and offer internships that give young people an accurate task for life in the workforce.

This kind of attention helps students make the connection between the classroom and the working world.

They regularly work with the public school’s alternative programs to make sure their respective efforts dovetail as effectively as possible.

These success stories show the impact alternative programs can have. The students take online classes and work at their own pace. Faculty members are available to help them or to direct them to the resources they need.

This individualized attention is the key to the programs’ success.

The alternative programs are not for all students. Most students succeed in the regular classroom without significant problems.

But for some, this success is elusive. The ability to tailor the academic program provides a viable option.

We commend the local school districts on their continuing efforts to meet the needs of all of their students. If they can’t meet those academically one way, they try another.

We also salute this year alternative program graduates. They have learned the value of an education, and their success might give them the confidence to continue.

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