Alternative Education Program
What is our purpose?
Like any school, our main purpose is to provide students with the academic courses they need for graduation, in a small class environment and in such a way they feel enabled to be successful learners. Many of our students come from schools where they often felt either “invisible” or “targeted”. They come to us from lives filled with challenges such as uncertainty, stress, anxiety and fear. Our students, rightfully, have a very different mindset than traditional students.
In order for our students to be empowered to learn, we focus on creating a nurturing environment where they feel safe, capable and valued. We concentrate on creating positive student/adult relationships by providing mentoring, academic advising and personal counseling by our school counselor. We maintain a high level of staff awareness of student behaviors that may be signals of distress. Much of our time and energy goes into team problem solving with our students, staff and parents Our human resources are largely focused on these efforts to help our students learn to manage their lives so they can live…and learn.
We’ve seen a gradual but steady increase in students who suffer from serious anxiety issues. Providing adequate support services to these young people is a challenging process that requires maintaining a delicate balance in our school culture. Many of our students are very resilient, but emotionally quite fragile. It is vital to their success that we constantly monitor and adjust our building climate as we see changes in our students’ needs.
In order to maintain a safe and positive climate for our students, we use a registration and intake process that allows us to assess both the appropriateness of our school for any potential student, and the impact that student might have on our school. During that process, we are working to determine if Cedar Street is a good placement for the student, and to ensure that any new student will disrupt the learning environment in our building.
What programs do we offer?
Our online curriculum, provided by E2020 (Edgenuity), is part of all of our program offerings and meets the requirements of the Michigan Merit Curriculum. We accept 8th through 12th grade students.
- Flexible Schedules – Students may take in seat classes with teachers, online courses in our library, or part in seat and part online.
- Virtual Classroom – Some students may enroll to take all courses online. Onsite testing is required.
- GED Classroom – Our GED classroom serves students under 20 who are working to complete the GED Test.
- Summer School – We online courses with lab and teacher support for area teens during the summer.
Who do we serve?
Our alternative educational programs are designed to serve area teens, 8th through 12th grade, who, although they have near grade level academic skills, are having difficulty being successful in a traditional school setting. These students have needs that are not being met by the services available to them in a traditional general-education school setting and are usually not eligible for Special Education services. Teens from Paw Paw and surrounding districts may apply.
What educational outcomes are available for students?
- High school diploma – Alternative students must meet the same MMC requirements as any other high school graduates. Our graduates participate in a graduation ceremony and receive a “real” diploma.
- GED Certificate – The GED is sometimes a better option for students far behind in credits. For some students who find the requirements of the MMC too rigorous, the GED provides a viable option. The GED currently consists of five tests; Reading, Writing, Science, Math and Social Studies. Students must pass all five tests and maintain a required average above the score to pass any one test. Passing the GED Test requires high school level reading, writing and math skills. We offer GED preparation classes, and are a GED Testing Center. In order to be approved to test in our Center, our students must pass a GED Predictor Test with scores that indicate they would be successful. Traditionally, students 18 and over are eligible to test. Students entering the military may test at 17. Students 16 years old and out of a traditional school for one calendar year may be granted a waiver to test. Other permissions are available. Members of the public may register to test in our Center with no pre-test. Cost of the battery to non-students is $150 ($30/test).
- Graduation – Both our diploma graduates and our GED completers participate in our June graduation ceremony. Different colored gowns are worn to signify either a diploma or a GED Certificate.
How do students apply to attend Cedar Street Alternative Ed?
The following guidelines are for students who wish to apply for enrollment at Cedar Street:
- Students must be Michigan residents.
- Students under the age of 16 on September 1 of the school year must have their resident district’s permission.
- Our online curriculum requires that students have reading, comprehension and math skills close to their grade level.
- Students must provide current contact information for family and emergency contacts.
- Students must provide information releases as appropriate for Cedar Street to gather background information such as behavior, attendance and academic history.
School officials wishing to refer students to Cedar Street are asked to help us by following a process that allows us to give all students who enroll the best possible opportunity for success. In order for us to maintain the climate necessary for our population of at-risk students to heal, grow and learn, we must carefully review all applicants to be sure we will be able to meet their needs…and to be sure they will fit safely into the culture of the building. It’s important that we make this determination before the student and/or the parents are given the impression that the transfer/enrollment will take place. When we find that Cedar Street is not a good option, we are sometimes able to offer other suggestions based on the background we’ve gathered.