Letter: Alternative program’s a good step

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To the editor,

I commend Region 16 Superintendent Tim James and [Woodland] Assistant Principal Dana Mulligan for recognizing and acting on the need for an alternative education program for the students at Woodland High School.

There are hundreds of students who have fallen through the cracks and/or dropped out of Woodland High School since the grand opening (10 plus years ago) of this beautiful educational institution. This program will serve a critical need in our community and help current and future students attain an appropriate high school education, as well as address the struggles and challenges that limit such students from achieving their full potential in the traditional classroom setting.

Mr. James and Ms. Mulligan seem to be dedicated to helping this population of underserved or overlooked students succeed in high school and more importantly, in life. I commend them for their dedication and commitment to the children in the Region 16 School District.

I cannot help but wonder “what could have been” for the multitude of students in Region 16 who have come and gone, struggled and even worse, dropped out of school, over the years, desperately needing such a program that would have provided social work services, counseling, special education services, and vocational skills to help prepare them for the future.
I pray that they have found their way and that they too can have bright and successful futures in this complicated world in spite of the lack of availability of an alternative education program. Let us not forget them.

I think a very relevant topic for a follow-up, future article regarding the proposed alternative education program would be a fact gathering of the drop out rate and actual number of students who have dropped out of Woodland since its opening. Region 16 is a rarity in this day and age in that the majority of high schools in Connecticut have had such programs in place for years and even decades. The town I grew up in had alternative education for high school students in the 1970s. It seems that the new superintendant and assistant principal are bringing very relevant knowledge and experience to Region 16 based on their experiences elsewhere.

Deborah Lanne

Beacon Falls