ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION FOR DISRUPTIVE YOUTH (AEDY) PROGRAM
At the request of the Bucks County Superintendents of Schools, the Bucks County Intermediate Unit initiated a cost-effective and high quality educational option for disruptive youth in 2009. The Upper Bucks Ombudsman Center at the Quakertown Community School District Administrative Center in Quakertown has provided 92 seats per year to four school districts since 2009. The Lower Bucks Ombudsman Center at the Tawanka Learning Center in Langhorne has provided 47 seats per year to seven school districts since 2010.
The Bucks County Intermediate Unit has contracted with Ombudsman Educational Services, Ltd., to obtain access to Ombudsman’s off-campus alternative education program and services for Bucks County school districts. Ombudsman is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to be a private provider of alternative educational services for disruptive youth. Ombudsman provides an off-campus alternative education program designed to reduce drop-out rates, increase graduation rates, increase attendance levels, improve academic performance for drop-out prevention and offer school districts’ non-traditional learners a new opportunity to encounter an individualized learning experience different than that they encountered in the traditional school setting.
The District is responsible for identifying the students to attend the Ombudsman alternative education program. Ombudsman conducts an intake interview with each prospective student, parent/guardian, Ombudsman site director and a District representative. Once a student is accepted and enrolled in the Ombudsman program, the District communicates directly with Ombudsman as to the District’s expectations and academic requirements applicable to that student and the student’s academic skill levels in reading, writing and mathematics in order for Ombudsman to establish the student’s individualized learning goals and the student’s Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) to meet the District and state learning standards. The District and Ombudsman engage in an ongoing qualitative and quantitative assessment of each student’s academic progress. Ombudsman provides the District with reports as required by the District and communicates directly with the parents/guardians of each student regarding his/her progress.
Ombudsman’s academic curriculum is correlated to Pennsylvania Academic standards supplemented with other materials to help students work towards meeting District and state requirements for graduation and/or promotion. Ombudsman’s program is delivered by teachers certificated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the appropriate grade levels and content areas of the students served.
Ombudsman learning centers operate between the hours of 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM, and students attend one of two (2) learning sessions per day for 4.5 hours. The learning centers are operated consistent with the District’s calendar. Ombudsman learning centers are supported by an Ombudsman operations manager and a center director, as well as an AEDY coordinator contracted by the Bucks County Intermediate Unit on behalf of the participating school districts. The AEDY coordinator schedules regular meetings of the center director and the points-of-contact for participating school districts, provides guidance in meeting AEDY requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, monitors the quality of the program, and addresses programmatic needs.
Ombudsman may serve as the academic component of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for students identified by the District as needing special education services. In this case the District and Ombudsman arrange for student admission on a case-by-case basis.
The District is responsible for any state testing that referred students may be required to take each year, in addition to student transportation, coordinating any student placement for the work study/community service and/or vocational classes and any social services/counseling required for students.
The Bucks County Intermediate Unit arranges for and bills separately for drug and alcohol counseling services.