• Amber Chandler

My next adventure...

In the spring, I accepted a new role--Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) as the Coordinator of Alternative Education and Interventions. This is a dream job for me, as it combines my love for innovative approaches to problems, my belief that social and emotional learning is foundational, and a deep desire to help students who are not successful in a traditional setting. There have been lots of questions, so I'll share some of the exciting details.

The program will be held in the high school's ALC. The ALC is the old library, and it has had many names and uses, but we are transforming it into the Alternative Learning Community. This transformation involves dividing the large space. About 1/3 of the space will be used to house the Alternative Education portion of the program. Students are returning from Alternative placements, and we will work with students in-house to catch up, get ahead, and learn the skills necessary to be successful. The other 2/3 is the REACH program. The REACH program is an intervention based program where students will spend between four or five periods of their day. It will act as a "home base" for students who will benefit from smaller numbers, flexible seating, project-based learning, and an approach that imbeds social and emotional learning.

I'm the coordinator, and in that role, I will be lining up visitors (weekly, I hope) to share their stories with the students, arranging for internships and other opportunities, working with families and community groups, and incorporating social emotional learning experiences, particularly restorative circles, and at times, restorative justice as a means to settle disputes.

I'm also the 9th grade cohort English teacher. I'll be preparing students using the English Common Core standards, as well as helping them develop life-long skills such as public speaking, building websites, and project based learning with an emphasis on collaboration and innovation.

Students will be taught by amazing teachers who have volunteered for this opportunity to innovate education. The program itself is brand new, but the teachers who will be working with these students are all veteran teachers with a heart for helping children become the best versions of themselves.

There will, of course, be bumps in the road, but helping these students find ways around, over, or through those bumps is a job--a calling--that I would never pass up. I hope you'll follow our journey as we create a program that will change lives. We'll be using the hashtag #REACHALC.

The philosophy of the REACH ALC