MONTREAL, SEPTEMBER 13, 2011 – The OPTION 1 is launching its second year of Alternative to Suspension Program in Ville Émard. The A2S program ran during the last school year as a test at Options I and was an outstanding success. It salvaged over 230 days of school which would have otherwise been lost to at-home suspensions.
The A2S Program accepts students from any EMSB high school who have been suspended for two to five days. As an alternative to staying home, the student attends Options I for the duration of the suspension. Given the low teacher to student ratio at Options I, students in the program get individual academic tutoring as well as behavioural skills training. Another Alternative Suspension Program which has been part of the EMSB structure for years has seen students spend the day working at community organizations like Share the Warmth.
“Why an alternative to suspension?” asks Jacques Monfette, the principal of the EMSB Alternative High School network. “At times some students may find themselves in situations where, as a result of inappropriate behaviour, they must face the consequences of their actions and are suspended from their regular schools. Prior to this program, when students were suspended parents had little to no choice but to allow their kids to stay home for the duration of the suspension. At home, and often unsupervised, students were at risk to encounter more trouble. The new A2S program assures that students remain in school and supervised while getting one-to-one tutoring and coaching.”
The A2S Program at the EMSB provides a constructive alternative where students can prevent a loss of school time, stay on top of their academics, and be in a highly supervised, nurturing and safe environment. Most importantly, A2S participants receive behavioural skills training for the last hour of each day while in the program. This unique feature will help students to prevent recurrent suspensions and learn from their mistakes.
The Alternative to Suspension Program is voluntary for students. Interested parents should inquire with the principal at their school for details. Options I is a small school in the EMSB alternative system of schools and offers a low class size and a safe, nurturing environment.