Staff at Oakland’s new alternative middle school have learned many things this year, through trial and error. But, perhaps above all, they came away with this: When you put 90 adolescents with educational, emotional and/or behavioral challenges under one roof, you’d better be ready for them. Really ready.
But the Alternative Learning Community wasn’t. And, from what staff have told me, it didn’t take long for the kids to catch on. Although the year had its redeeming moments, some have begun to wonder whether it’s such a good idea to group struggling students together (with the intent of providing more services and one-on-one attention) to begin with.
“Some of the kids have succeeded, in spite of the chaos,” Simone Harvey, a sixth-grade adviser, said. “You wonder, sometimes, if it really makes sense to take all of these kids who have the same problems and put them in the same place.”
Does it? (You can read the full story here.)
photo by Laura A. Oda, staff photographer