Florida - Alternative Education for Expelled Students: Programs and Services

Area: 
Programs And Services
Policy Type: 
Statute
Summary: 

State law encourages districts to operate alternative school programs or to ensure access to educational services to expelled students in an alternative setting.

Florida Statutes 1003.53 Dropout prevention and academic intervention.

(1)

  • (a) Dropout prevention and academic intervention programs may differ from traditional educational programs and schools in scheduling, administrative structure, philosophy, curriculum, or setting and shall employ alternative teaching methodologies, curricula, learning activities, and diagnostic and assessment procedures in order to meet the needs, interests, abilities, and talents of eligible students. The educational program shall provide curricula, character development and law education, and related services that support the program goals and lead to improved performance in the areas of academic achievement, attendance, and discipline. Student participation in such programs shall be voluntary. District school boards may, however, assign students to a program for disruptive students. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, no student shall be identified as being eligible to receive services funded through the dropout prevention and academic intervention program based solely on the student being from a single-parent family.
  • (b) Students in grades 1-12 shall be eligible for dropout prevention and academic intervention programs. Eligible students shall be reported in the appropriate basic cost factor in the Florida Education Finance Program. The strategies and supports provided to eligible students shall be funded through the General Appropriations Act and may include, but are not limited to, those services identified on the student’s academic intervention plan.
  • (c) A student shall be identified as being eligible to receive services funded through the dropout prevention and academic intervention program based upon one of the following criteria:
      1. The student is academically unsuccessful as evidenced by low test scores, retention, failing grades, low grade point average, falling behind in earning credits, or not meeting the state or district proficiency levels in reading, mathematics, or writing.
      1. The student has a pattern of excessive absenteeism or has been identified as a habitual truant.
      1. The student has a history of disruptive behavior in school or has committed an offense that warrants out-of-school suspension or expulsion from school according to the district school board’s code of student conduct. For the purposes of this program, “disruptive behavior” is behavior that:
        • a. Interferes with the student’s own learning or the educational process of others and requires attention and assistance beyond that which the traditional program can provide or results in frequent conflicts of a disruptive nature while the student is under the jurisdiction of the school either in or out of the classroom; or
        • b. Severely threatens the general welfare of students or others with whom the student comes into contact.
      1. The student is identified by a school’s early warning system pursuant to s. 1001.42(18)(b).

Florida Statutes 1003.53 Dropout prevention and academic intervention.

(d)

    1. “Second chance schools” means district school board programs provided through cooperative agreements between the Department of Juvenile Justice, private providers, state or local law enforcement agencies, or other state agencies for students who have been disruptive or violent or who have committed serious offenses. As partnership programs, second chance schools are eligible for waivers by the Commissioner of Education from State Board of Education rules that prevent the provision of appropriate educational services to violent, severely disruptive, or delinquent students in small nontraditional settings or in court-adjudicated settings.
    1. District school boards seeking to enter into a partnership with a private entity or public entity to operate a second chance school for disruptive students may apply to the Department of Education for startup grants. These grants must be available for 1 year and must be used to offset the startup costs for implementing such programs off public school campuses. General operating funds must be generated through the appropriate programs of the Florida Education Finance Program. Grants approved under this program shall be for the full operation of the school by a private nonprofit or for-profit provider or the public entity. This program must operate under rules adopted by the State Board of Education and be implemented to the extent funded by the Legislature.
    1. A student enrolled in a sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, or tenth grade class may be assigned to a second chance school if the student meets the following criteria:
      • a. The student is a habitual truant as defined in s. 1003.01.
      • b. The student’s excessive absences have detrimentally affected the student’s academic progress and the student may have unique needs that a traditional school setting may not meet.
      • c. The student’s high incidences of truancy have been directly linked to a lack of motivation.
      • d. The student has been identified as at risk of dropping out of school.
    1. A student who is habitually truant may be assigned to a second chance school only if the case staffing committee, established pursuant to s. 984.12, determines that such placement could be beneficial to the student and the criteria included in subparagraph 3. are met.
    1. A student may be assigned to a second chance school if the district school board in which the student resides has a second chance school and if the student meets one of the following criteria:
      • a. The student habitually exhibits disruptive behavior in violation of the code of student conduct adopted by the district school board.
      • b. The student interferes with the student’s own learning or the educational process of others and requires attention and assistance beyond that which the traditional program can provide, or, while the student is under the jurisdiction of the school either in or out of the classroom, frequent conflicts of a disruptive nature occur.
      • c. The student has committed a serious offense which warrants suspension or expulsion from school according to the district school board’s code of student conduct.
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