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Original post made
on Jun 7, 2012
Congratulations to Principal bill Pierce, and to all of the outstanding teachers, counselors and volunteers at Alta Vista, and especially to all of the graduates who are such role models for all of us. You should all be so proud of your achievement.
It would be better to keep these kids in the regular school system. This program is just designed to exclude these children from the right to the mainstream high schools. The expectations are much lower at Alta Vista.
I know several former Alta Vista grads. One is in jail. Another just had her third child out of wedlock and is living on welfare. A few I know started college courses, but never finished with a degree of any sort. One is left wondering if they would have had a better chance in life if they were never kicked out of the regular schools.
Sorry Realist, most of these students did not want to be in "regular school". If you have taught in "regular school" at the middle and high school level recently ( I have 4 years), you know that some kids and families don't 'get it'. Special teachers and principals allow them a second chance to try. But they don't have to try in a type of environment that they don't like, with peers who have a different mind-set.
The high school District's Middle College and Freestyle also allow kids/families with a slightly different mind-set to get educated through high school diploma level. Even the GED high-school equivalency program allows a few, after they drop out, to change their minds and graduate [3rd chance]
Alta Vista High is a model program and it's recognized throughout the state as such.
As a graduate of Alta Vista, I can speak both to its strengths and weaknesses. I feel that the overwhelming amount of negative responses is completely unwarranted. I have attended both public and private schools and can tell you that I encountered some of the most inspiring teachers of my educational career at Alta Vista. Although students definitely pose challenges in terms of keeping them interested and engaged, simply because they may have previously "screwed up" does not mean that ignorant people should simply "write them off."
I am among the "few [that] started college courses" - I actually attend a great university out of state and will be graduating early with honors as a double-major. Perpetuating negative stereotypes does not speak to the students that attend that institution; rather it speaks to misdirected ignorance and arrogance.
While at Alta Vista, I did encounter several students who had experienced run-ins with the law, and there were several teen parents, however the lesson of Alta Vista (outside of those taught in the classroom) is that we all have time to better ourselves. Some students take longer than others to realize this. There is one teen mother in particular that I still think of as an example of how one should handle the challenge of teen motherhood: she adores her daughter, helps out at her daughter's school, graduated high school (from Alta) and now attends college part-time while working. She puts her daughter before herself.
People shouldn't make sweeping judgments about situations they do not possess adequate knowledge about.
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