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Inclusive Education Project Podcast

Oct 1, 2019

Special Guest Anna Harryman sits down with Vickie and Amanda to discuss alternative education. Listen in to this fascinating glimpse inside a credit recovery high school. You’ll learn the definition of alternative education, the kinds of students they serve, the goals they have, and how love can make all the difference.

This is Anna’s 10th year working in alternative public education. Her career in the education field began with a position as an AmeriCorps volunteer, being a business to community liaison. She caught the attention of another school district, who hired her on permanently to do a similar role in their school. While there, she worked her way up and became a teacher in the English Language Arts, Social Studies, and eventually added Family and Consumer Sciences, which most people know as Home Ec. Anna later became a school counselor, which is her current role. She has spent time as a department head and on the School Leadership Committee. Anna also works as a teacher on special assignment for the school district, coordinating all professional development for school counselors in the district.

Show Highlights:

  • "Alternative education” is an umbrella term used to describe any education outside of the traditional, comprehensive school setting. For example: trade schools, expulsion behavior programs, school credit recovery, special skills or college prep classes. 
  • Anna works at a credit recovery high school. As she explains, students fall behind on credits for a variety of reasons. 
  • Education is not a “one size fits all” for students.
  • Anna’s school serves around 120 students at a time.
  • They strive to provide that small learning environment for students who are overwhelmed or unsuccessful in a large school setting. They may have fallen through the cracks, not getting the attention they were needing to be successful in their classes, or have a lot of anxiety.
  • Since there’s a lot of flexibility in the school programs, a lot of teen parents come to the school. Also, kids with medical issues or those who have moved around a lot and have gaps in their education are given opportunities to make up their credits, so they can graduate on time or meet their educational goals.
  • Other purposes that the school serves is providing the GED program for the district and serving the expelled students in the program. 
  • There is a separate program for the expelled students to start in, and if they choose to stay in the school, they can earn their way into the main high school program, which is considered a privilege.
  • One of the goals for the school is to take students who might otherwise drop out of school during their junior or senior years in high school, and get them to graduation.
  • Anna discusses the importance of thinking about students with love and building relationships with them, and the various reasons why they might be expelled from school.
  • As Anna relates, her community is very fortunate to have a district that sees the value of what they’re doing, and she feels that the stigma is getting smaller and smaller every year.
  • A student first has to fail repeatedly in order to be able to go to an alternative school and have a second chance at learning. It is a shame that these students have to suffer first in order to get to a place of success.
  • Anna’s school is typically 15-20% on IEP’s and around 10% on 504’s. Most 504’s are the social and emotional 504’s, a lot diagnosed with mental health issues such as bipolar, anxiety, and depression. They are not able to offer all the resources for IEP’s that a larger school can, so they have to limit their IEP’s to students who require a minimum of services, and are at risk of falling through the cracks in the traditional educational system.
  • Students have the opportunity to learn more about trades programs, computer programming, manufacturing, and other industries for after graduation or GED.


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This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advice specific to your circumstances. If you need help with any legal matters, be sure to consult with an attorney regarding your specific needs.


Building the Bridge Between Literacy and the Consequences of Falling Behind

Thursday, October 24, 2019 

5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Huntington Bay Club

4121 Warner Ave, Huntington Beach, CA