The CNMI Alternative Education Program was created by Commissioner of Education, Dr. Rita A. Sablan in 2009 to provide an alternative for students not succeeding in the general education program while continuing to meet their educational needs. The program opened that year at Saipan’s Hopwood and ChaCha Oceanview Junior High Schools. In 2010, the program was expanded to include Saipan’s three high schools (Kagman HS, Marianas HS, and Saipan Southern HS). The expanded high school program is based on the campus of Marianas High School.

ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL PROGRAM STANDARDS

The standards define an alternative school environment with curricula, counseling, and resources to enable the student to master life skills that are critical to social, emotional, and academic growth and success.  The Alternative School Program Standards provide a framework for the CNMI PSS to use in developing curriculum to meet the needs of the students.

MISSION

The mission of the Alternative School is to intervene positively with students who currently are not succeeding in a traditional school environment and have been removed from their school due to disciplinary reasons.

STUDENTS SERVED

For purposes of these guidelines, the student populations to be served in alternative school programs include:

Students who have violated school policy in regards to discipline procedures; Students with multiple rule violations;
Students who have been suspended for a period of three (3) days or more; Students who have been expelled from their traditional school.

PRINCIPLES

In order to remove barriers to success for students, alternative school programs are based upon the following principles:

  1. Educators understand that all students have value and potential.
  2. Public investment in resources to address needs is cost effective in that it forestalls greater expenditures later.
  3. Alternative education must be one component of a comprehensive discipline policy and procedures action plan, which includes classroom management training, graduated disciplinary alternatives, and other strategies.
  4. Alternative programs address the basic psychological needs of at­risk youth. Five central dimensions are crucial to an individual’s well­being and ability to be resilient under stress:

Competence: the student has evidence of abilities, skills and strengths.

Belonging: people accept the student in some important group.

Usefulness: the student’s work is needed by others and it has meaning.

Potency: the student has power to make changes.

Optimism: the student receives positive feedback from others and is confident about solving problems in the future and understands that the future holds promise.
(Abraham Maslow, William Glasser and Richard Sagor, At­Risk Students: Reaching and Teaching Them (1993))

  1. Alternative programs must offer an alternative learning environment in which students can learn: possibly at different rates of time, with different but successful strategies and tools, and with a caring and dedicated staff of visionary teachers and leaders.
  2. Professional development enables staff to approach behavior problems in a way that builds character and offers opportunities for restitution; use active listening skills and problem solving strategies; and use social skills that demonstrate positive character traits.

ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL PROGRAM STANDARDS

The student who is in need of an alternative school environment will be provided with curricula, counseling, and resources to enable the student to master life skills that are critical to social, emotional, and academic growth and success.

1.0 The Alternative School program will establish collaborative partnerships in a system of shared responsibility for program support and for service delivery to enrolled students.

2.0 The Alternative School program will integrate life skills development within the curriculum.

3.0 The Alternative School will have an effective system of positive student management.

4.0 The Alternative School will utilize innovative teaching strategies.

5.0 The Alternative School will have curriculum developed in response to needs of the student population.

6.0 The Alternative School program will provide appropriate assessment and support services.

7.0 The Alternative School program will provide an environment that is conducive to learning.

8.0 The Alternative School program will be implemented by effective, qualified staff.

9.0 The Alternative School will have an effective transition process for students entering and exiting the program.

Standard
1.0 The Alternative School program will establish collaborative partnerships in a system of shared responsibility for program support and for service delivery to enrolled students.

Program Expectations
The collaborative partnerships will:

1.01 Provide supportive administration including but not limited to the Commissioner of Education, the program director, and the Alternative School Vice Principal.

1.02 Provide support services to address the student’s environment outside the school, including community agencies such as DYS.

1.03 Develop a partnership with the school from which the student has been reassigned.

1.04 Involve and inform parents about techniques and strategies to work effectively with their children using school resources.

Standard
2.0 The Alternative School program will integrate life skills development within the curriculum.

Program Expectations
The Students will:

2.01 Learn social skills and work readiness.

2.02 Have access to learning experiences outside the school building including real life experiences.

2.03 Learn to set realistic short term and long term goals and learn what they must do to achieve their goals.

2.04 Learn responsibility, conflict resolution, problem solving and decision­making.

2.05 Learn time management skills.

2.06 Learn citizenship.

2.07 Learn that people have to work to live.

2.08 Learn self­assessment and improvement.

2.09 Learn to accept constructive criticism.

2.10 Develop career awareness.

Standard
3.0 The Alternative School Program will have an effective system of positive student management.

Program Expectations
The Alternative School Program will:

3.01 Provide positive reinforcement.

3.02 Define clear, explicit student expectations and discipline plan (Alternative School Handbook).

3.03 Provide consistent, firm, and fair behavior management.

Standard
4.0 The Alternative School Program will utilize innovative teaching strategies.

Program Expectations
The Instructional Format will:

4.01 Provide varied and innovative teaching strategies and provide for experiential learning.

4.02 Allow frequent student and teacher interaction.

4.03 Use structured multiple teaching styles matched with student learning styles.

4.04 Encourage teacher networking to enhance teaching strategies and available resources.

4.05 Include project based, experiential activities.

4.06 Consist primarily of non­lecture techniques.

4.07 Include instruction through innovative, useable technology and appropriate software.

4.08 Use interdisciplinary approaches.

4.09 Use appropriate equipment ­ video, audio, still camera.

4.10 Use varied, multiple assessments.

Standard
5.0 The Alternative School Program will have curriculum developed in response to needs of the student population. Program Expectations
The Curriculum will:

5.01 Include a balance between mandated curriculum and special needs of the student.

5.02 Focus on social skills development.

5.03 Incorporate student ideas in curriculum design.

5.04 Include preparation for transition to further education, GED, or NMTI programs, as appropriate.

5.05 Include career awareness and exploration.

5.06 Incorporate the student’s classroom­of­origin content.

Standard
6.0 The Alternative School Program will provide appropriate assessment and support services.

Program Expectations
The Alternative School Program will:

6.01 Conduct initial student assessment associated with social and emotional needs, such as the FBA and F.A.S.T. assessments.

6.02 Assess the student to determine if the student needs drug or alcohol abuse intervention.

6.03 Include mental health evaluation.

6.04 Include individual and group counseling components.

6.05 Integrate conflict resolution into all aspects of the program.

Standard
7.0 The Alternative School Program will provide an environment that is conducive to learning.

Program Expectations
The Alternative School Program will:

7.01 Have a safe, clean and quiet facility.

7.02 Be designed to facilitate teamwork.

7.03 Have adequate space for low teacher­student ratio

7.04 Minimize disturbances by separating Alternate School students from those in their traditional school as well as differentiating groups of students based on their status within PSS (suspended vs. expelled, etc).

Standard
8.0 The Alternative School program will be implemented by effective, qualified staff.

Program Expectations
The Alternative School Staff will:

8.01 Include excited, energetic, competent teachers with multiple teaching styles.

8.02 Understand and practice the concept of facilitating learning.

8.03 Include appropriately trained aides and counselors.

8.04 Include Highly Qualified Teachers as defined by PSS.

Standard
9.0 The Alternative School Program will have an effective transition process for students entering and exiting the program.

Program Expectations
The Alternative School Program will:

9.01 Provide student orientation that consists of rapport building, assessment, goal setting, and development of an individual student profile, designed to orient students to the alternative school setting.

9.02 Develop specific, individualized long range plan for each student as the first and the last step of the transition process.

9.03 Establish a team, composed of representatives from the student’s traditional school, the alternative school, and parents, to review referrals on transition