ATS – Alternative to Suspension

The ATS-Alternative To Suspension is an educational model developed to support school sites with tiered interventions. Most districts use a Multi-Tiered System of Support structure to provide students, teachers and families with the needed supports and interventions necessary to assist students with meeting their maximum potential in three educational areas: Academic, Social/Emotional and Behavioral.

It is the goal of the ATS-Alternative To Suspension Model to keep students on campus who pose no immediate threat to themselves or others, allowing students to receive instructional support by a certificated teacher, as well as access to materials and computer programs only available on site. This also includes participation in support groups and counseling services as well as interaction with adult mentors who have a vested interest in each student’s sustainable on-going plan for success.

The ATS-Alternative To Suspension complements districts’ existing Tier I structure and provides delineated gradient levels of Tier II support and intervention. Along with having students recognize and identify their specific actions that could benefit from change or modification, the ATS-Alternative To Suspension utilizes a certificated teacher to help students create and implement appropriate replacement strategies when or if they are in the same or similar circumstance at a later date. Critical to the process is also the students’ ability to own and recognize their behavior, including the direct and indirect harm it may have caused others. This focus, then, is on having each student introspectively concentrate on their part in the incident that occurred – a significant departure from traditional models in which students concentrate on deflecting blame or figuring out how not to get caught the next time.

Beyond what happens within the ATS Program, a significant component and key to each students’ sustainable success lies in the reintegration process. Students make amends, in the form of a heart felt, in person apology to the person or persons they have harmed before returning to the classroom or school setting. The reintegration, which is facilitated by a member of the administrative team, acknowledges the harm that’s been done and signals a willingness on the student’s part to acknowledge the wrong doing, make amends for it, and move forward in a positive manner. This part of the process is critical not only for the person who has caused the harm, but also for the person who was harmed by the wrong-doing. Essentially, this process facilitates the healing process and allows both parties to move past it. This is truly an appropriate ATS - Alternative to Suspension…

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