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Tyrone Area School Board hears about alternative education program

On Tuesday night, the Tyrone Area School Board heard about an alternative education program which is being considered for use by the district starting in the 2005-06 school year.
The district’s special education supervisor Jeanne Knouse and a middle/high school social worker Molly Muir along with representatives from Pyramid Healthcare at Greentree Village were on hand to explain the program to board members and administrators during its monthly work session.
The program is a collaborative initiative designed to work with regular or special education students who exhibit a wide range of behaviors and difficulties including attendance problems, defiance or acting out behavior, drug and alcohol problems, social and emotional problems and/or academic deficiencies.
The program is known as the Pyramid Supported Program and its mission is to help students overcome issues that prohibit them from succeeding in the regular school setting.
Knouse said the program will be “much more accessible to all students, much more accessible to transition students coming back.”
She said the program would be good for students coming back from Greentree to the school.
“They can maintain that therapeutic support that they need,” said Knouse.
She explained sometimes students “fall right off” once they are back in the same routine when they return to school. Under the new program, the staff involved can “pick them back up and put them in a therapeutic setting.”
According to information outlining the program, it is designed with an emphasis on behavior management techniques to provide a healthy, structured, challenging and supportive environment.
The program will also provide both a full-time highly qualified teacher and a Pyramid Healthcare trained counselor.
Some of the program goals include self concept, self esteem, self evaluation/awareness, trust, cooperation, communication and leadership, decision making, respect for self and others, physical health and developing a respect for and sense of connection to the natural and man-made environments.
The program will he conducted in the school and students will attend the program on a daily basis during school hours. Support group sessions will be conducted during homeroom and continue through the first half of the day and/or as required by the student’s program goals and needs.
Another component of the program will allow students to continue with their regular school work as planned by their regular teacher but supported by the supported program teacher.
The program also features a component called “Mission Friday.” Half the day will be therapy support-centered and incentive-based the other half.
Some of the incentives include but are not limited to activities such as viewing a movie, having an ice cream party or a pizza party or possibly a field trip. Students who do not earn the incentive will be required to work on school-related subjects.
The cost of the program was presented as $65,000 and would include a full-time teacher and a full-time therapeutic support staff person with benefits. The program would provide the ability to work with up to 20 students at one time. The cost per day was listed as $363.89 per day according to information presented to the school board.
Daily rates at Greentree are $29.09 for a regular education student and $76 a day for a special education student. The information presented to the board said with five special education students in the program instead of at Greentree Village, “the program would be paying for itself.”
The school board took no action on approving the program during a regular meeting which followed the work session. The program was not on the regular session agenda for consideration.
Superintendent Dr. William N. Miller said the board will have to make a decision on the program since it involves entering into a contract with Pyramid Healthcare.
During the regular meeting on Tuesday, the board decided to cancel its regular meeting set for May 10. The board will hold a regular meeting on May 26 at 7 p.m.