The following is the letter sent to Heather Groll, Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Community Relations for the Buffalo School District. It included the ideas callers had regarding an “Alternative School” being proposed for the Buffalo Public Schools:
As promised the following is a list of the suggestions from my callers. I have to tell you that we are all rooting for your students. In order for Buffalo to make a comeback we need all of these bright, beautiful students to be a part of the economic prosperity that has been non-existent in this region. The district should be proud of the three Lafayette High School students that were on my show. They were smart, articulate and had optimism for their future. They are a credit to their families and their school.
What should be part of an “Alternative School”?
- Strong JROTC program which would be optional for students but recommended.
- Intake testing in reading and Central Auditory Processing.
- Testing for non-verbal learning disorders.
- Vision testing.
- Required conflict resolution training.
- Sports & Music.
- 4th grade start.
- One on one tutoring.
- After school activities.
- Master Level Social Workers to coordinate parent/guardians, doctors, clergy, therapists and any other person that could assist in the child’s progress.
- Parent/guardian intake interviews that should be done monthly.
- Positive behavior modification training for all teachers so that punishment can be minimal.
- Vocational training options.
- A boot camp/shock camp for high school students who did not have early intervention.
- Partner with companies that students can field trip to for observation of jobs in the community.
What kind of teachers does this school need?
- Military background for all administrators. The point was made that we have many military coming back from Iraq that would be excellent.
- Uniforms for teachers and students. One of the Lafayette girls remarked that kids will be targeted if they don’t have the latest fashion jeans.
- Proven success in the classroom as far as scores on exams (State & Federal).
- National searches for teachers with experience in special education and tough learners.
- Year to year contracts; they can’t come back if their student and parent ratings are not passing.
- No tenure.
- Secure building with metal detectors.
I had great callers for this show. Many of them had backgrounds in the area they called about. Everyone is concerned about the kids, their safety and ability to have the opportunity to succeed. No one wants the dangerous kids babysat at a cost to the taxpayers of over $15,000 per year. They need to be learning and taught by professionals who are trained and paid to teach. We can either spend money on the troubled kids when they are young and hopefully save a few of them or we run the risk of housing them later at a cost of $30,000 per year in a jail. One of the things I closed the show with is the fact that these kids are powerless. Adults have the power; kids do not. We, the adults need to fix this or their failure will be forever on our shoulders.
Tell Dr. Williams we support him and his efforts!