By Sara Wilson
Through the vision of the Lee County School System, a new program is being developed for students in the 1st through 6th grades who struggle in a traditional school setting. Called the “New Perspective Program,” the ultimate goal for the program is to promote a passion for student learning.
According to information provided by program developer Angela Arnett, the program is for “students who struggle with appropriate social interactions between peers and/or adults, experienced or are experiencing trauma, have anxiety due to the number of people in the school, stay ‘in trouble’ at school or feel like they do not fit in.”
Students are chosen through a school’s referral. The referral will be based on data collected throughout the school year. A committee that will consist of the assistant superintendent of elementary, the director of special education, the school administrator, general education teacher, Lee County Schools social worker and the Central Office special education staff will then make a decision on who will participate in the program.
New Perspective varies from a traditional school in that it provides a smaller class setting to give small group instruction by both a general education and special education teacher.
This program will be a place for students to gain the skills they need to transition back into a traditional school setting.
“Transition will be based on the needs of the student. Some will need more time than others, and we want to transition the students back when they are ready,” Arnett said.
Located at the campus of the central office in Opelika, the New Perspective program has a brand-new space. It consists of three classrooms, two individual restrooms, an office and storage room.
There will be a pilot program beginning at the end of the school year. Based on parent’s suggestions, revisions will be made for the upcoming school year.
“Dr. (Mac) McCoy and the Lee County Board of Education have graciously supported the development of the program. We will take data, observations, and feedback and use it to revise the program as needed,” Arnett said.
Arnett said that the program is looking for grants and sponsors. For more information on the program or to provide financial support, contact Arnett by phone at 334-705-6000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.