State law requires districts to operate alternative school programs or to provide educational services to expelled students in an alternative setting.
ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION PROGRAMS
The site desicrbes the availability of alternative schools for students in grades seven (7) through twelve (12) who have been suspended or expelled.
Rules of the Tennessee Department of Education 0520-01-02-.09 ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS.
(1) Definition: An alternative school is a short term intervention program designed to develop academic and behavioral skills for students who have been suspended or expelled from the regular school program. (2) Requirements:
- (a) The instruction shall be as nearly as practicable in accordance with the instructional program in the student's regular school.
- (b) All course work and credits earned shall be transferred and recorded in the student's regular school.
- (c) Students are subject to all rules of the school system providing the alternative school. Violation of rules may cause students to be removed from the program but shall not constitute grounds for extending the length of original suspension or expulsion.
- (d) All laws, rules, and regulations shall be followed with children eligible for special education. If a change of placement is made, due process procedures are mandated.
- (e) Reasons for placement in an alternative school must be documented. End of year reports must be made to the regular school for each student.
- (f) Teachers must have a valid Tennessee teacher license.
- (g) Support services such as counseling and psychological services must be accessible.
- (h) All alternative school classrooms shall have working two-way communication systems that make it possible for teachers or other employees to notify a principal, supervisor, or other administrator that there is an emergency.
- (i) It is the responsibility of the superintendent to insure that all alternative school teachers and other employees have been trained to use the two-way communication system and are notified of emergency procedures prior to the beginning of classes for any school year and when changes are made in the emergency procedures and/or personnel. Such emergency procedures shall be linked to the school and school system emergency preparedness plan.
- (a) Students attending an alternative school shall continue to earn state education funds in the regular school system.
- (b) Other state funding shall be made according to a formula developed annually by State Commissioner of Education.
- (a) A local board of education may not contract or otherwise affiliate with an alternative school program which requires an order of a court as a precondition of placement in such alternative school.
- (b) A local board of education may contract with independent contractors to provide alternative school facilities and other appropriate services consistent with T.C.A. § 49-2-203(a)2).
- (c) A local board of education may establish its own facility.
- (d) Two or more boards may join together and establish an alternative school attended by students from any such system.
- (e) Through a mutually accepted agreement with another local board of education, a board may send its suspended or expelled students to an alternative school already existing in another school system.
Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-3402. Alternative schools for suspended or expelled students — Mandated attendance.
(a) Local boards of education may establish alternative schools for students in grades one through six (1-6) who have been suspended or expelled from the regular school program. At least one (1) alternative school or alternative program shall be established and available for students in grades seven through twelve (7-12) who have been suspended or expelled as provided in this part. In providing alternative schools, any two (2) or more boards may join together and establish a school attended by students of any such school system; furthermore, any board may, by mutually acceptable agreement with another board, send its suspended or expelled students to any alternative school already in operation.
(b) Alternative schools and alternative programs shall be operated pursuant to rules of the state board of education pertaining to them, and instruction shall proceed as nearly as practicable in accordance with the instructional programs at the student's home school. All course work completed and credits earned in alternative schools or alternative programs shall be transferred to and recorded in the student's home school, which shall grant credit earned and progress thereon as if earned in the home school.
(c) Students in grades seven through twelve (7-12) who have been suspended or expelled from the regular school program must be assigned to an alternative school or alternative program if there is space and staff available. Attendance in an alternative school or alternative program shall be voluntary for students in grades one through six (1-6) who have been suspended or expelled from the regular school program unless the local board of education adopts a policy mandating attendance in either instance. The student shall be subject to all rules pertaining thereto. A violation of the rules by a student may result in the student's removal from this school for the duration of the original suspension or expulsion, but shall not constitute grounds for any extension of the original suspension or expulsion. The final decision on removal shall be made by the chief administrator of the alternative school.
(d) Any student attending an alternative school shall continue to earn state education funds in the student's home school system and shall be counted for all school purposes by that system as if still in attendance there.
(e) A pupil who has been properly found to be eligible for special education and related services shall be placed and served in accordance with the laws and rules relating to special education.
- (1) The state board of education, in its rules and regulations for the operation of alternative schools, shall require documentation of the reasons for a student attending an alternative school and provide safeguards to assure that no child with disabilities or other special student is arbitrarily placed in an alternative school. The state board of education, in its rules and regulations, shall require that all alternative school classrooms have working two-way communication systems making it possible for teachers or other employees to notify a principal, supervisor or other administrator that there is an emergency. Teachers and other employees shall be notified of emergency procedures prior to the beginning of classes for any school year.
- (2) The state board of education shall provide a curriculum for alternative schools to ensure students receive specialized attention needed to maximize student success. Alternative schools shall offer alternative learning environments in which students are offered a variety of educational opportunities, such as learning at different rates of time or utilizing different, but successful, learning strategies, techniques and tools.
(g) Notwithstanding this section or other law to the contrary, local boards of education may establish evening alternative schools for students in grades six through twelve (6-12).
- (1) LEAs establishing alternative schools or contracting for the operation of alternative schools shall develop and implement formal transition plans for the integration of students from regular schools to alternative schools and from alternative schools to regular schools. The plans shall be targeted to improve communication between regular and alternative school staff, provide professional development opportunities shared by regular school staff and alternative school staff, align curricula between regular schools and alternative schools, develop quality in-take procedures for students returning to regular school and provide student follow-up upon return to regular school.
- (2) The state board of education shall adopt policies or guidelines to assist LEAs in developing transition plans.
Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-3405. Alternative school success.
- (1) Each LEA shall track the operation and performance of alternative school programs operated by the LEA or contractually operated for the LEA. LEAs shall measure and report to the department of education alternative school success through academic indicators and behavior indicators.
- (2) Academic indicators shall include, but not be limited to, grade point averages or other student academic performance measures, performance on the Tennessee comprehensive assessment program (TCAP), performance on the end-of-course assessments, attendance, dropout rates and graduation rates, for students in alternative schools or who have been in alternative schools.
- (3) Behavioral indicators shall include, but not be limited to, disciplinary reports and subsequent remands to alternative schools.
- (4) The department of education shall provide guidance in the reporting of the required data.
(b) The state board of education shall seek to improve performance of alternative school programs by promulgating or revising rules and regulations requiring greater accountability by the department of education and LEAs for outcomes of students served by alternative schools.