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Ruben Yancy Alternative School

Alternative/non-traditional education school and programs are an option for students who may experience difficulty in the traditional setting. Students attending our program may require creative, innovative, and structured alternatives within a different educational setting. 

The Ruben Yancy Alternative Education Program (RYAS) Standards are designed to improve alternative education programs through improvement and accountability. RYAS programs serve as a tool for identifying strengths and areas needing improvement for each alternative education program or school within the school district. RYAS programs enhance opportunities for St. Clair County’s alternative/non-traditional/virtual programs to provide standards-based learning in order to make education work for all St. Clair County students.

According to St. Clair County Schools, an effective alternative education school or program consists of nine guiding standards:

RYAS Standard 1: Assists School Superintendent and local schools in conducting routine and systematic program evaluations to improve educational programs and services 

RYAS Standard 2: Implements a transition process to support a seamless enrollment to RYAS and a seamless return to the traditional ​​​​​home school or external agency which includes a plan for transition success.

RYAS Standard 3: Provides students with opportunities to maintain or accelerate their current progress toward graduation.  

RYAS Standard 4: Develops and implements a graduation plan for each student

RYAS Standard 5: Communicates effectively and efficiently with program teachers, support providers, and home campus personnel.

RYAS Standard 6: Supports the success of students with a counseling program that is grounded in evidence-based practices to address the academic, social and emotional success of students.

RYAS Standard 7: Facilitates the success of students with a comprehensive truancy program that is responsive, rigorous, and emphasizes intervention and prevention services.

RYAS Standard 8: Supports the academic success of students with the effective implementation of a rigorous instructional framework aligned with the Alabama Course of Study Standards

RYAS Standard 9: Supports the academic success of students with the effective implementation of a rigorous, data-driven virtual learning program aligned to state content standards

The Ruben Yancy Alternative Program is designed to provide some program flexibility at the local school level. Local schools collaborate with RYAS on alternative school initiatives and use all virtual programs and services to enhance the home campus accountability mission.

Expected Benefits

There is much anecdotal literature about the effectiveness of alternative schools in keeping students in school. Alternative schools have been successful in:

  • reducing truancy;
  • improving attitudes toward school;
  • accumulating high school credits; and
  • reducing behavior problems (Cash, 2004).

Key Elements of Successful Programs

There does appear to be a consistent profile of the most successful schools. The profile includes the following characteristics:

  1. a maximum teacher/student ratio of 1:10;
  2. a small student base not exceeding 250 students;
  3. a clearly stated mission and discipline code;
  4. a caring faculty with continual staff development;
  5. a school staff having high expectations for student achievement;
  6. a learning program specific to the student’s expectations and learning style;
  7. a flexible school schedule with community involvement and support; and
  8. a total commitment to have each student be a success.

Policy 4.12: At-Risk and Alternative Education Programs

Original Adopted Date: 11/15/1999 | Last Revised Date: 02/22/2010

The Superintendent or designee shall develop, for the St. Clair County Board of Education’s approval, a plan for at-risk students addressing drop-out prevention.  Components of the plans for academically at-risk students may include but are not limited to High Hopes grants/programs, Children’s First, Title I, Title VI, Title IV Safe and Drug Free Schools programs, and other state, federal, or local initiatives.

The Board shall also maintain an alternative education program for students who, because of disciplinary problems, cannot be appropriately educated in the regular school environment or who, because of academic difficulty, have been identified as at-risk of academic failure.

The St. Clair County Board of Education maintains a comprehensive career awareness program in middle schools to help students appreciate the value of a high school education and understand the consequences of not acquiring a high school diploma.  The Board places strong emphasis on the utilization of school counselors for early identification of and intervention for students deemed to be at-risk.