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Eleven alternative programs to KY recognized for their excellence, including the Covington Learning Center

By Jacob Perkins
The Kentucky Professor

In an effort to recognize the work of educators and programs that serve students with a variety of learning needs, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has named 11 alternative programs of distinction. The programs will be recognized at the regular Kentucky Board of Education meeting in June.

The Phoenix School in Jefferson County.

An alternative education program is designed to meet the needs of students that cannot be met in a traditional classroom. These programs can be classrooms, centers, or alternative campuses designed to correct academic performance, improve behavior, or provide enhanced learning experiences. Alternative education programs do not include professional or technical centers or departments.

Acting Education Commissioner Kevin C. Brown said alternative programs are an essential educational option for Kentucky students.

“Alternative programs are vital to the future of Commonwealth children,” Brown said. “We cannot reach all the children in a traditional classroom. We need to work with our students to find what works best for them and put them in the best possible position to be successful.
The 11 programs named Alternative Distinction Programs for 2020, with the districts that operate or endow them in brackets, are:

• Fayette County Learning Center (Fayette County)
• Jackson Academy (Warren County)
• McCracken Regional School (McCracken County)
• Mercer Day Treatment (Mercer County)
• Regional school programs (Dayton Independent)
• The McDaniel Learning Center (Laurel County)
• The Phoenix School of Discovery (Jefferson County)
• Providence School (Jessamine County)
• Center for Transformational Learning (Independent Covington)
• Western day treatment (Jefferson County)
• William Cofield High School (Franklin County)

Ken Moeller, principal of the Phoenix School of Discovery, believes this recognition validates the hard work of alternative programs in Kentucky because, at times, these programs can be overlooked.
“Something like this stuff takes things away and gives people a chance to see that alternative schools are unique and creative and help kids in a different and needed way,” Moeller said.

Sean Bohannon, Deputy Director, and Lorie Duffey, Director of the Transformational Learning Center (Photo provided)

Since 2012, Phoenix has become an optional school specializing in meeting the needs of students in difficulty through differentiated instruction. Classes are taught by highly qualified educators in a setting that offers a low student-teacher ratio. Teaching is further enhanced by technology and interventions targeting the social, emotional and academic needs of students.

Moeller says the school’s goal is not only to prepare students in Grades 4 to 12 to achieve state proficiency levels, but also to meet the needs of students where they are. and equip them with the skills they need to be successful in life after high school. .

Each program selected as an alternative program of distinction receives a monetary award from the Kentucky Department of Education for its educational support. Information about the schools will also be posted on the KDE website, so that other schools can use the programs as models.

KDE began highlighting best practices in public school alternative programs in 2009. Alternative programs include school district-managed and hosted instructional programs that provide services to students with a variety of unique needs.

They may also include district-run educational programs located in out-of-district facilities or schools for youth identified as children of government agencies through the Kentucky Educational Collaborative for State Agency Children, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Community Based Services. and / or the Department of Behavioral Health, Development and Intellectual Disabilities.

Kentucky teacher is a publication of the Kentucky Department of Education.

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