A Look Into The Public and Alternative School System
When I was fourteen, I lost all faith in the public school system. I tried my best, but that still wasn’t enough. I was placed on an Individual Education Plan back in 2011, and even after I grew out of the need for that plan, and it was proven that it was unnecessary, my educators insisted on keeping it in place. I wanted out of those classes desperately; I knew I didn’t belong in a class with people who had autism or other learning disabilities, but against my wishes, that’s where they kept me.
In 2013, I switched to a smaller school with a much lower curriculum than I was used to. That did actually give me an advantage, because the principal and special education teacher agreed that my IEP was unnecessary at the time being. I thought things would get easier from there, but I was very wrong, because the way my life works; when I overcome one obstacle, there’s always another one blocking my path. I may’ve been out of those classes, but my past soon came back to haunt me. Because I was on an IEP the previous school year and took the OMAP State Test, which I later found out was a lower grade level test, so I had to make up for that. At the school I was attending that year, they had a class called remediation for those who did not pass their state tests, or in my case take a nonequivalent state test. That being said, instead of being allowed to take choir, which I so badly wanted to do, I was put in a class during that class hour where I would have to prep for the state test that year, in hopes of actually passing.
The next year, in 2014, I switched schools for personal reasons. At that school, I faced a problem that was the exact opposite of the problems I faced the previous school year. That year, I had to go to a school that was twice the size of any school I had ever been to, that happened to be one of the top ranked schools in the state. That being said, because I wasn’t used to that environment, I struggled, and they showed no compassion. I felt very harassed, because wherever I turned, there was special education teachers either trying to persuade me to go back into those classes, or trying to trick me into letting them dumb down my work. I felt very degraded when one of my teachers handed me what you call a modified test, which was a shorter, multiple choice version of the test every other stud taking, and if that wasn’t enough, my teacher had the nerve to mark off two of the answers on each question, so that I’d have a better chance of picking the right answer. Soon after, when all parties were in agreement that that school just was not the right fit for me, I moved.
At the next school I went to that same year, it was arguably the best, and also the worst school I had went to. Sure, they gave me two electives, and the special education department gave me zero issues, but I still had conflicts. Those conflicts weren’t with teachers, as I was used to, but instead, I was not only bullied, but harassed by the students at that school. Of course, I reached out for help from my teachers, and counselor, and principal, but no one took the actions necessary to fix the situation. That was the last straw for me, I just gave up on the public school system. When I quit that year, I never intended on actually quitting, and I did make numerous efforts to enroll in online school, which failed each time.
Finally, after a year went by, and I could see that home schooling wasn’t going to do anything for my benefit, so I made a very tough decision. I was really at a cross road at that point, because I could either go back to public school and relive everything I ran away from or I could continue to get no where with homeschool and possibly not get a diploma or ever get a real job. That being said, I made the difficult decision to return to public school, but knowing how badly all the schools in that surrounding area had treated me in the past, I decided to move in with my dad’s mom who lived in a different state, and go to school in the district in which she lived. I went to school there for about a semester, before getting depressed and going right back where I started.
Upon moving back in with my mom, I decided to give one of my previous schools another try. My former classmates encouraged me to come back, because they said the high school would be different. By that they meant that the school had done away with remediation, which was my main concern. A few weeks later, I met with the high school counselor, only to leave the school in tears. She told me that my credits from my previous school would not transfer over, so I would have to start over as a freshmen, and as if that wasn’t enough, she went on to say that she saw no chance of me graduating on time. I was devastated. I wouldn’t accept that I would have to lose everything I worked so hard to achieve, so I walked out, never to return.
At that point, I was completely beside myself. I knew I didn’t want to give up, but I also didn’t want to be degraded by being held back. Finally, I found a solution, and I don’t think I could’ve possibly beat that opportunity. A friend of mine told me about a program called alternative school, where she attended classes. About a month later, I sat down with the assistant superintendent, who was also the principal of the alternative school. He was very kind, and supportive of my goals and ambitions. He told me from the very beginning that if I wanted to achieve something, I could do it, and he’d be right behind me to help and support me along the way.
Once I started Alternative School, I found hope, and felt confident that I would succeed. It wasn’t necessarily my teacher that made me have a change of heart, I mean he played a major role in that, but I just clicked with the program I was using. At my school, we use two programs, Edgenuity and A+. For those of you who don’t know, Alternative School is commonly computer based, and it gives you the option to work at your own pace, within reason. Also, because both Edgenuity and A+ give you the freedom to work at your own pace, you can easily finish a class every two weeks or less, if you as dedicated as I was. I’ve been a part of the alternative program for a nearly three years, and I’ve achieved what no one thought possible. My sophomore year, I walked in with half a credit, and now I’m a senior, with nineteen credits, who’s not only expected to graduate on time, but actually about six months early.
I’m not necessarily trying to convince you that public school is all bad, or that alternative school is the only way to go. My only goal here is to share my story in hopes of inspiring a person, or two. Alternative school may not be for everyone, but if it’s the right option for you, it will definitely work in your favor!
© 2018 Trinity Davis
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