not just an alternative, but an opportunity
As early as 1984, the Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill authorizing the establishment of an alternative school for students who were having disciplinary problems. In 1992, the General Assembly mandated that one alternative school be established for each local school district to serve suspended and expelled youth. The Tennessee Department of Education works to help districts ensure that quality alternative learning environments are created for students. The Department coordinates activities of both the Study Council for Alternative Education and the Governor’s Advisory Council for Alternative Education. Both entities work alongside Department officials to improve alternative education in Tennessee and to serve as an advocate for students and teachers in alternative school settings.
best practices for alternative educators
The Governor’s Alternative Education Advisory Group has suggested several general recommendations for alternative educators:
- Schools should avoid sending students to alternative schools for 5-10 day suspensions. Students should be remanded to an alternative school for an appropriate length of time for learning to occur.
- Whenever possible, the student’s transition back to the home school should occur at a natural break, such as the end of a grading period or semester.
These recommendations are not a mandatory requirement for alternative educators and/or alternative schools or programs.
CCA SERVES kINGSPORT AS A tRAUMA INFORMED SCHOOL
Cora Cox Academy faculty and staff have participated in extensive professional development to help provide a safe and respectful environment. The staff's goal is to build relationships with students to help them succeed academically, learn how to regulate their emotions appropriately, and support their mental health and well-being. Our faculty and staff have learned how to understand that students oftentimes are never asked, "What happened to you?" but rather "Why are you acting this way?" Through the trauma mindset, we are able to help students reach their potential in an academic setting.