From The Board Of Education: The Alternative Suspension Program (AS) allows temporary suspended secondary students- or those on the verge of being suspended- with the opportunity to transform their time away from the classroom into a positive experience.
Part of a network of more than 40 services sites from BC to Newfoundland, the Abbotsford site was opened in 2012 by the school district, city and YMCA of Greater Vancouver.
It is housed at the Abbotsford Recreation Centre, and acts as a district-wide ‘in-school’ suspension service to help prevent students from dropping out of school.
Reasons for students being registered in the short term program include: risky behaviour, physical or verbal violence, disruptive or impulsive behaviours.
Alternate Suspension Program manager Shari West, of YMCA Canada, reported to the Board that the program provides early intervention and prevention by focusing on students’ personal development and offering them the tools they need to succeed.
Key activities include: prevention and intervention sessions for 3 to 15 day periods, one-on-one sessions and group workshops aimed at reducing identified risk factors, academic support to keep the student up to date with school work, and school reintegration support to help students go back to school following suspension.
Surveys of students who have gone through the program show 71% of students learned they need to take responsibility for their actions and learned new ways to cope with situations; while 75% of parents of students in the program interviewed felt the program had been good for their child.