The start of a new school year for Evangeline Central School, means the start of a new and more structured way of learning.
According to the school’s head principal Dexter Brown, the new Education Career Alternatives Program (ECAP) alternative program that will be implemented at the alternative school for the purpose of “reorganizing the students’ mind set.”
Evangeline Central, which is located along La. Highway 10 between Vidrine and Ville Platte, is where students who teachers have had to regularly discipline for their behavior.
Brown said, “This program is intended to rehabilitate our students with the hope that they won’t be back.”
This will be done through what Brown called a program “stemming from military training.”
One new aspect of the more structured schooling is the point system that will allow students to earn their way back to their home base school.
A student will now begin their time at the alternative school with a red folder. Inside the folder each student will have a sheet where their teacher will mark how many points the student earned in a variety of areas each school day.
The things that students will earn points for are remaining on task, being respectful to others, conducting self appropriately, and technology performance. Students will also be able to earn bonus points for good behavior.
Points can be earned during each class period, lunch and transition times, when arriving and departing from the school campus, and during the students’ physical training time.
Once a student in the ECAP program has reached a certain amount of points, they then receive a yellow folder. As they continue to earn more points, the last folder they will be given is a green one. This signifies that a student has completed the program and is prepared to re-enter his home base school.
When the green folder is earned by a student, Brown said, “A meeting between myself, the student’s home base principal, the student and their parent will be held.
“I will review the student’s three system cards with the principal and explain that this student’s thought process has improved greatly. This will show that the student is able and capable of going back to their home base school.”
This program is also set up in a way that allows students to switch classes throughout the day.
According to Brown, in the past “students stayed in one class all day.”
During the transition from classroom to classroom, Brown said, “The students must be in a single file line with their hand behind their back. There will be no interaction between students while switching classes.”
Brown then continued, “During the transition from class to class, if a student does not act properly they will be deducted points from their system cards.”
While they are in the classroom, students will have an assigned cubicle that they must sit at everyday. This is where a student will complete all of their classroom assignments.
If students maintain their behavior at school, they will get the chance to purchase a snack at the school’s canteen. However, Brown said they do not plan to start doing this until the end of the second full week of school.
Brown said, “We want to make sure and reward the students when they do well, which we have decided to do by offering them the opportunity to purchase a snack from the canteen. We are still tweaking how we will implement this, but we do know that we want to have it set up where you have to earn a certain amount of points that week to purchase a snack.”
Another change that will occur this school year at Evangeline Central will be the continual police presence on the public school campus.
Brown said, “The key to the success of this program will be having police officers with arresting powers on campus at all times.
“A lot of these students fear going to a juvenile facility. The police presence reminds them of that.”
Although there are a lot of new changes to embrace, Brown feels confident that the new program will be a success.
Brown said, “My assistant principal Quint West always tells me that we have to put God first, family second, and everything else a distant third. As long as we do that, I have faith that God will see this program through a successful first year that leaves many of our students with a new mind set that will allow them to thrive in life.”