K-5, 6-8 alternative learning to move to P.S. Jones, John Cotten Tayloe

Published 6:56 pm Monday, July 8, 2019

As the high school grades at Beaufort County Schools’ alternative learning program prepare to move to Southside High School from the Beaufort County Ed Tech Center, the program’s middle and elementary grades will be relocated to two schools in Washington.

BCS Superintendent Matthew Cheeseman says that middle school students in the alternative learning program will now attend school at P.S. Jones Middle School, while elementary students will be taught at John Cotten Tayloe Elementary.

At each school, students will learn in their own classroom, staffed by an ALP teacher. As the program’s principal is located at Southside, assistant principals at each location will provide additional support for the classes.

“You really do not have a lot of students in this middle school model, because we really try to work with the students, help them with their academics, help them with their behavior and try to provide a way of reentry back into their own school,” Cheeseman said. “Typically, you have anywhere between five and eight students at any one time who are in the middle school model, so you’re really not looking at a large population of students.”

Cheeseman said that a fair amount of the middle school students who participated in the alternative learning program this past year were P.S. Jones Middle School students. At the beginning of each year, there are no students assigned to that program, so the middle school program is on an as-needed basis.

Elementary students, meanwhile, will have their own classroom at JCT that will mirror the design of the class previously located at Ed Tech. Cheeseman says some of the same teachers from Ed Tech will establish the program at JCT. After meeting progress milestones set by the staff, these students are invited to back into the traditional school setting.

“Your K-5 program is really about helping build behaviors or even coping mechanisms that can help them stay situated in a typical classroom,” Cheeseman said. “So part of that is still learning the academics and curriculum, but also being able to help themselves with their own emotions, their own feelings and things that would be distracting to them.”

Yesterday, Cheeseman presented these plans to the Beaufort County Board of Education. If further discussion or changes are required for the plans, they will be on the agenda during the board’s July 23 meeting.