July 10, 2008

New Remedial Program Sought

By Erin Roll, Daily Press, Newport News, Va.

Jul. 10--WILLIAMSBURG -- The Williamsburg-James City County School Board is exploring another proposed change to the alternative education program.

The change would establish a remedial program for eighth-graders who are having academic problems, and would accommodate 30 to 40 students.

Anthony Mungin, director of the Academy of Life and Learning, the division's current alternative program, said at the School Board's meeting Tuesday night that he wants a "prestigious" alternative school, one that parents would want to send their children to.

The Academy for Life and Learning currently serves students who have been expelled or placed on long-term suspension. Under the proposal, as submitted by Mungin, these students would go to a separate program.

The board voiced its support of a remedial program for eighth-graders, but many remain wary of the proposal that would send the suspended or expelled students to the Enterprise Academy in Newport News.

Board member Mary Ann Maimone said of the current program, "We've asked parents and the community to step up to the plate in support of this program, and they have."

Maimone and other members voiced concerns about inviting the community to invest a great deal in a local alternative education program, only to send students with behavioral problems out of the area. Others were concerned that there was a risk of repeating the mistakes of the now-defunct Center for Educational Opportunities.

"Truth of the matter is, I'd like to have both schools here," Mungin said. "But the budget won't allow it."

Mungin emphasized that only the most severe disciplinary cases would go to the Enterprise Academy, and only when all other efforts by the school division have failed.


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