The Alternative Learning Center Model

ALC Article, page oneAssociation of California School Administrators
March 2015

Common Core is a welcome instructional shift, but the students who struggle will still be sitting in classrooms with the same difficulties they have always had. The Alternative Learning Center Model offers a variety of educational platforms for these students.

If you Google "I Choose C" there is a cartoon video of a girl applying for a position in a research company. In the opening moments, the employer asks the applicant to describe her most desirable quality. She pauses a moment and asks him what the choices are. He is confused at first, but she quickly clarifies, "You know, A B C or D," referencing multiple-choice options. A little later, in response to another question, she tells the interviewer that she chooses "C." When asked why, she re-marks that her teachers told her that if she didn't know the answer to a question, she should choose "C" because statistically that answer has the highest probability of being correct.

ALC Article, page two

ALC Article, page two

Toward the end of the video she doesn't know the answer to another question and looks around the room. When the interviewer asks her what she is doing, she tells him that she is looking for someone to think-pair-share with.

When we speak at educational conferences, our audiences laugh aloud in places as they watch the video. It is a funny clip simply because there is truth to what is depicted — probably more than we would care to admit. We have told kids to pick "C" if they didn't know the answer to a question. We have inadvertently created a generation of students who fill in the blanks, write persuasive essays to principals about dress code violations and who can't for the life of them tell you how math, English, social studies and science are related. Thankfully, Common Core is coming, with the promise of focusing on 21st century thinking skills and the four Cs: creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication.

ALC Article, page three

ALC Article, page three

Helping students thrive and excel Common Core is a welcome instructional shift; however, we know that Common Core or not, the students who strug-gle — the ones who don't fit in on a comprehensive campus for any number of reasons — will still be sitting in classrooms with the same difficulties they have always had. Common Core can't fundamentally change an educational environ-ment that doesn't work for all kids. That's why we created an Alternative Learning Center Model in Oceanside Unified School District.

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