Why education is important to me: Pt Three, final chapter

Sky Alternative finally calls me. I am in. I start in August. 
Did you miss part one or part two?

August 28th, 2006. The beginning of the greatest year of my life. 
I wasn't totally against school anymore, but I sure didn't want to be there. 
It wasn't until my first week of class that I realized how much I love to learn! 
The student to teacher ratio is 19:1 
There are no lectures. 
You learn at your own pace. It may take you a year to get through one subject or it may take you 3 months. 

An Alternative Education School is not only intended to accommodate students who are considered at risk of failing academically, but also students of all academic levels and abilities who are better served by a non-traditional program. Many programs are specifically intended for students with special educational needs, but others address primarily social problems that affect students, such as teenage parenthood or homelessness.  {src}

The kids at Sky were of a HUGE variety. Teen parents. drop outs, kids on house arrest, kids on probation (myself included), some were kicked out of regular high school, or kids who just needed extra help. 

The National Center for Education Statistics lists the following factors that lead to an "at-risk" label for students:

  • low socioeconomic status
  • living in a single-parent home
  • changing schools at non-traditional times
  • below-average grades in middle school
  • being held back in school through grade retention
  • having older siblings who left high school before completion
  • negative peer pressure{src}

I know what you are thinking, a school where all the students are 'trouble makers'?
There was never a fight, nobody ditched, and for the mos part, we all got along.

An Alternative school is the term used in parts of the world (particularly the United States) to describe an institution which provides alternative education. It is an educational establishment with a curriculum and methods that are nontraditional. These schools have a special curriculum offering a more flexible program of study than a traditional school.{src}

The teachers didn't stand at the front of the class, lecture, give assigned readings, and classwork. Instead, we were given the text book and packet of work. You read the assigned chapters on your own terms, completed the homework as fast or slow as you needed, and handed it in when you were done. We would have exams just like any other school. But you could take your time, think about the questions, and really understand what you are being asked. Not everybody was working at the same pace. Some students wizzed right through their work, while others needed more time and more help understanding. At any point you needed help their was a teacher with one on one guidance. You never got 'called on' in class, or called to the white board.

I had three years of credits to make up not including my senior year credits.

Somewhere in the middle of the first semester I was in a car accident and had to take an independent study leave. Independent study is where you go to school once a week to turn in work and take exams if you have any. You do the rest of your work at home.
My first semester I took 59.30 credits. My first semester of my senior year,  I completed 59.30 credits. I had 7 A's. In one semester. That was more A's than I had in my entire 3 previous years combined.

I had brought my gpa from a .40 to a 3.11

For the first time in my 17 years of living , I was proud of myself.

Second semester I took 37.20 credits. I completed 37.20 credits.
My gpa for the last semester was 3.50.
My self confidence was through the roof.
I completed all of my credits and passed all of my exit exams.
March 15, I graduate high school, with a DIPLOMA.

Because I failed 3 years my total GPA was only 1.9.

But that was nothing a few years at a community college couldn't fix.

Not only did I graduate high school, I received a scholarship from the elementary school I went to. It was for demonstrating 'strength of character and a relentless will to succeed."

Pretty cool, huh?

Alternative education saved me from the inevitable that I thought was my future.
I'm not a teen mom, I'm not addicted to drugs, I'm not a convict.
That is all because there was a school willing to help me. Teachers willing to devote every hour in their day to tutor me. A principal who was willing to pick up students from their home just so they would make it to school.

This is me, in the first grade

This is at my graduation ceremony {with glasses}

I believe each student deserves to feel safe, welcome, and worthy in a school setting.

I owe all of my success to Sky Alternative High School.

Tomorrow YOU will have the chance to make a difference in a students life.

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Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.