ECHS to have new alternative to out-of-school suspensions

Published 9:00 am Monday, June 13, 2011

Escambia County High School will have a new alternative to out-of-school suspensions this fall — a program that Principal Zickeyous Byrd said he hopes will better establish proper behavior.

The Hope Academy will be an on-campus suspension program, located at the Atmore Family Life Center.

“We have found that students who are suspended from school and sent home often fail to change their behavior once they have returned to school,” Byrd said. “Our alternative program will allow students to recognize what they did wrong, identify an alternative to the wrongdoing, and accomplish a set goal by conforming to the proper behavior. If the student fails to reach their goal, he or she will remain at the alternative school until the goal is met.”

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The Family Life Center is currently used for after-school tutoring, which will continue along with the alternative school program under the direction of Lillie Johnson.

At the alternative school, students will receive instruction from certified teachers using the same curriculum as the high school’s Twilight Program, Byrd said. That program has seen “enormous successes,” he said.

The alternative school program will also have daily physical drills established by retired Drill Sgt. Major North.

Hope Academy will be open when school begins.

Byrd said he is looking forward to Hope Academy reducing the suspension rate, but he also hopes students will enjoy other changes at ECHS. The principal is beginning his second year at the helm of the school.

“Last year we were not able to make as many changes as I wanted to because we had to learn the school,” Byrd said. “Now, I will be able to put more changes in place not only cosmetically, but educationally and socially. We have many new career technical classes as well as dual enrollment classes that will be offered such as cosmetology, nail technology, welding, industrial electricity, college math and language classes that are in the planning stages depending on funding.”