Mobile County Public Schools has for many years offered alternative education options for middle and high school students who struggle with behavior issues in traditional educational settings. This year, however, the system is implementing a plan to provide alternative school to general and special education students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Three campus locations in Mobile will serve elementary, middle and high school students who violate the MCPSS Student Code of Conduct with C, D or E offenses and are referred by principals to the Alternative Schools Review Panel.
The Pathway K-5 will be located in a private wing of Howard Elementary School at 957 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue; The Pathway 6-8 will be located at the former Brazier Elementary, 2161 Butler Street; and the Continuous Learning Center at 1870 Pleasant Avenue will serve students in grades 9-12.
“I’m excited about being here,” said Alvin Dailey, who has been named principal of The Pathway campuses. “I see this as an opportunity to continue to help young people get themselves on track.”
Dr. William Smith, new principal at the Continuous Learning Center, said the creation of a full alternative school structure has been long needed. He said the goal is for students who are referred to the alternative schools to gain the social skills they need to successfully return to traditional schools.
“We want to create a situation where students feel like they’re safe and secure and people care about them, but at the same time we don’t want them to stay here,” said Smith. “They’re going to have good instruction from good teachers who care about them. We’re going to talk about behavior, how to handle themselves, soft skills, the things they’re going to need to be successful.”
As in all MCPSS classrooms, the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards will be utilized for instruction. The alternative schools will provide personalized experiences and offer a blended learning environment, with face-to-face and online courses, to provide individualized instruction. Individual and group counseling sessions will be available, as needed, and high school students will have access to credit recovery and career and technical education courses and credentials.
In addition to alternative school programs, The Pathway will still have a program for middle-schoolers who have fallen behind in their academics. “It gives them a chance to catch up some lost ground, where they may have made some mistakes,” Dailey said. “They can correct some behavior and they can get on track to graduate. I like the idea of being a part of that.
“We’re going to give the kids structure, discipline and love, because they need that as well.”
Students referred to alternative schools will remain there for a minimum of one semester. Transportation will be provided.
“We’re going to run a tight ship,” Smith said. “We want students to understand we want them to perform.”