MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Montgomery Public Schools will reconfigure and expand its current alternative school programs as well as add new programs for the upcoming school year.
In February, when former State Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson announced his state intervention plan for MPS, he stated that old McIntyre Middle School would be used to house new alternative schooling programs. He said the purpose of this would be to help eliminate the distraction of disruptive behavior from classrooms.
Catherliene Williamson said the school will be called McIntyre Comprehensive Academy. In the past, MPS provided two alternative learning opportunities. Williamson said Fews Academy served about 50 overage middle school students, while PACE Academy served students with behavioral needs as a disciplinary action on a rolling basis. She said the new system will allow for the district to serve more students and meet more needs.
Next year, McIntyre Comprehensive Academy will have three alternative programs:
The PRIDE Academy will serve 8-12 grade students who are pulled from the schools they're zoned to for behavioral issues. Williamson said students in this program are put there on a rolling basis, based on disciplinary needs.
STAR Academy will encompass the services provided by Fews Academy. The program will serve 8-10 grade students who have fallen two grade levels behind. Williamson said the new facility will allow MPS to serve 80 students in the program, which is 30 more students than MPS had capacity for in the past.
"We are looking for students with low disciplinary issues and high attendance," Williamson said. "We need students who are going to work hard with us. It's going to be rigorous to get two years done in one year."
RISE Academy will focus on equipping under-credited high school students to get their diplomas so they are prepared to enter the workforce.
"We're looking to give students an opportunity to accelerate their learning because they have fallen behind with their credits," Williamson said. "It allows them to complete their diploma options and exit our district and go straight into the workforce."
Williamson said the program is a "pilot" for MPS, since it will be the first year the system is offering it, and she said there will be capacity for nearly 100 students.
Williamson and Chief Administrative Officer Terry Roller said offering more support to students could have a dramatic impact on student achievement and behavior in schools.
Williams said parents and principals have already begun contacting MPS about wanting to enroll students in the STAR and RISE programs. She said the system has also been proactive in evaluating its own data to identify students who could benefit from the programs.