Sumter County Creates Unique Alternative School

The Sumter County School District is restructuring its alternative school program. District officials are calling it an original and innovative concept that's already having an impact.

A traditional alternative school takes place during regular school hours at a separate campus. But superintendent, Katie Jones Powell, says that no longer works, so a change was needed.

In the past, students in the alternative school in Sumter County could ride the bus to and from school each day. That's no longer the case.

The alternative program is now offered only after regular school hours from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Parents are responsible for getting their children to and from school.

"I think parental involvement is a focus of the program," said Powell. "Getting them involved. Making them aware of what's going on and letting them know that for those with behavior problems they are responsible for getting the child to school."

Powell notes that in the past, the district's alternative school was designed to meet the needs of students with behavior and discipline problems. Now it has broadened its scope.

"The program now addresses students who have excessive absenteeism and tardiness and need to make up classwork, students who may need to repeat courses; students who might otherwise be placed in in-school suspension or students who are repeatedly sent to in-school suspension," said Powell. "And I believe this is best going to serve the students and the community."

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