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New alternative education program up and running at TASD

Tyrone Area School District’s new alternative education program is up and running.
School Board members learned more about the program at last week’s regular meeting. The after hours program follows on the heels of a program that was in place last year in the district that functioned during regular school hours.
The program is available for students who have had continued behavioral disruptions along with those who have tested positive for drugs or have had truancy issues. The program is operated by a group of five team members.
Students receive instruction in courses such as science, English, math, social studies from teachers involved in regular classes at the school. Students also participate in physical education and daily living activities.
The new program operates Monday through Thursday from 2:30 to 7 p.m. The program also requires participants to be involved certain activities such as work, community service or computer educational use for five hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Transportation and meals are provided for the students.
During last week’s presentation, the board was informed the program had been operational for a little over a week and was already helping students. Nine students are currently involved in the program.
Depending on how a student progresses, they could be in the program for the entire school year and possibly for the entire four years of their high school education. Students can also go in and out of the program.
Based on the grant, the program can serve the equivalent of up to 19 students during the school year although not all at the same time. High School Dean of Students MaryAnn Volders told administrators the program could probably handle up to 15 students at one time. She said the district could end up serving more than 19 students in a school year since some participants might not be involved for the entire year. Remaining funding could then be allocated to help another student. Volders told The Herald as many as 30 students a year might be helped.
Volders said, “I think it’s an excellent program for at-risk youth so that they could be successful and be prepared for the work force and college.”
Tyrone Area Business Administrator Cathy Peachey told The Daily Herald the district received $19,000 in grant money from the state in August for the program. She said the district had applied for the funding in July.
Peachey said the district already received $36,000 in grant money for students who are placed in outside alternative programs. She said the new grant money became available when some districts in the state did not use all of their funding for alternative education. She said the money was then reallocated for in-house programs such as the one now available at Tyrone.
Plans call for the program to be continued on a yearly basis by applying for and receiving additional grant money.