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August 26, 2004

Contracted Alternative Programs

Another type of alternative school is those which contract with a school district to serve a particular population of students. For example, the Metropolitan Federation of Alternative Schools in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, consists of 22 schools run by community non-profits. Each contracts to serve particular populations of "at-risk" students. The students remain on the district rolls but by statute the district gives 95% of the state aid the student generates to the contracted program. Each of the schools controls its programs, staffing and budgets. It's a win-win. The programs obtain revenue from the district to provide programs that better meet the needs of elementary and secondary students. This arrangement has been in place for several decades although in the early years, the programs received much less revenues from districts. The schools have formed the Federation as a mutual benefit organization.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 05:47 PM

August 13, 2004

Tough Love for School Reform

Frederick M. Hess says that school reformers undermine their own best efforts while distracting public attention and energy from the larger, structural problems. The real crisis, he writes, is that so few of our schools are excellent, so many are mediocre, and yet we, the adults responsible, are content to tinker and theorize. Demands for radical change are often met by protestations of good intentions, pleas for patience, and an endless stream of ineffectual reforms. Read his thoughtful "common sense agenda" for tough-minded accountability.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 03:24 PM

Creating Strong District Choice Programs

The U. S. Dept. of Education has published a booklet, Innovations in Education: Creating Strong District School Choice Programs to provide guidance to school districts in providing more learning alternatives. Public school choice—letting parents decide which public school is the best place for their child and allowing and enabling the transfer to that school—is a key strategy in current federal legislation aimed at improving educational outcomes. This handbook examines the choice options provided by some of the nation’s districts, including open enrollment, magnet schools, alternative schools, concurrent enrollment, and charter schools.

This public domain book can be downloaded or ordered by writing to: ED Pubs, Education Publications Center, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398; or fax your request to: (301) 470-1244; or e-mail your request to: edpubs@inet.ed.gov; or call in your request toll-free: 1-877-433-7827 (1-877-4-ED-PUBS) or order online at: http://www.edpubs.org/.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 02:52 PM

August 02, 2004

Mental Health in Schools

A fine resource on mental health issues in schools comes from the federally funded UCLA School Mental Health Project/Center for Mental Health in Schools. Subscribe to a free monthly email newsletter (also available in hard copy). They provide many resources on the topic of school mental health such as: staff burnout, student motivation, conferences, healthy environments, resouces, links research and much more. A terrific resource on the topic of school mental health. Remember, dissatisfaction with schools drives alternatives.


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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 10:57 AM

Schools of the Future

Ian Jukes and Ted McCain describe their vision of tomorrow's schools in an article "New Schools for a New Age." They write of the speed of change impacting the world and that will hit education where we least expect it. They describe the difference in expectations of workers and citizens in the future world of high speed and advanced technology. A thougthful and provocative article. The InfoSavvy site contains a list of exciting articles and handouts used for presentations.

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Posted by Wayne Jennings at 10:24 AM