The Alternative Education Program (AEP) is for students that have trouble in the open concept design of the school. It is supervised by Holly Falzo (English, social studies and health) and Kim Wilkinson (science, math, Senior Expo and art). AEP is also used for students who need to recover credits and students with scheduling conflict sometimes brought on by their attendance at the technical programs.
AEP is an independent work program through which students are assigned all of their work for the week on Monday and are expected to complete it by Friday which allows students flexibility with their time. Classes are based on which credits are required for the student to graduate. Students work independently, and help is provided if needed.
The primary advantage of AEP is that it’s structure incorporates self-pacing and flexibility, keeping students on task and working towards graduation. The self-pacing is important because it lessens the students’ anxiety as they can spend more time on classes in which they struggle or set them aside and move on to a different class when they’re stressed out. Schedule flexibility helps students get caught up far easier than classes in the regular program.
BFUHS Junior Alana Martin, a current AEP student, says “It (AEP) gives me motivation to go to school. The teachers make me feel welcome, and it feels like a home away from home.” Another student feels strongly that without AEP he would not graduate.
However, AEP is not perfect, and certainly not for everyone. Some students may feel isolated and cut off from the rest of the school and struggle with being in the same room all day. Other students may find it hard to stay focused because the teacher is not actively teaching them for the entire class period. There may also be problems with self motivation for some students because of the independent component of the program; they’re not forced to work every second of the day, so procrastination is a problem. Briana Goncalves, a senior, feels that, “If you are in here (AEP) all day, it sometimes makes the days feel a little long.” Another student, junior Ryan Bashaw, doesn’t like that he cannot be on his phone for such long time block.
Students who are interested in applying for AEP can get an application from Mrs. Laross in the Guidance Office. As part of this application process, students need a recommendation from their Guidance Counselor. All applications are reviewed by the Educational Support Team.