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Overview Alternative Education

Alternative Education provides students with new beginnings and second chances.  At Erie 1 BOCES, we focus on the whole student: allowing every opportunity to achieve goals, ensure a brighter future, and build productive members of society. 

Each program provides contect certified teachers, who have experience working with an at-risk population.  

  • Alternative High School (Grades 9-12)  
  • Home Hospital Instruction
  • Out of School Suspension Options (Grades 7 - 12)
  • Twilight After School Education Options (Grades 10 - 12)
EDGE of success

Alt Ed’s new academy set to debut next school year

Chasing Pine Hill Schoolafter your passions can help lead you to the edge of success, but everyone needs a mode of transportation to get there.

Erie 1 BOCES’ new EDGE Academy will help ensure everyone gets a map to find his or her edge.

EDGE – set to debut in September – revamps the alternative education initiatives offered in Erie 1 BOCES’ suite of services. The academy is a full-day program for Regents diploma-bound high school students that introduces them to five academic pathways: art, business, career and technical education (CTE), drama and music.

“We’re aiming to switch from a traditional school setting which focuses on the core academics to meet the individualized needs of our students and our districts,” explained Justin DeMartin, director of Exceptional Education at Erie 1 BOCES. “EDGE Academy looks to individualize what courses a student takes and allows them to enrich themselves in one of the five pathways, focusing their goals and giving them a personalized path to success.”

EDGE – which stands for Explore, Develop, Grow and Experience – will introduce students to all five pathways in ninth and 10th grade. They will then focus their studies on the pathway of their choosing in 11th and 12th grade.

Those who choose the CTE path will select from one of 20 programs available at Erie 1 BOCES Harkness Career & Technical Center. The other paths will be housed at the EDGE Academy in Cheektowaga Central School District’s Pine Hill Education Center, which is in the process of being renovated to meet the needs of participants.

In addition, EDGE will offer students individualized supports and resources for personal development during their journey through high school. This includes on-staff social workers, team-building activities, career counseling, support groups, work-based learning experiences and credit recovery options.

Students will be able to tailor their education to their schedules with EDGE. They will have their choice of three scheduling options: day (8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.), evening (12 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.) and Twilight (academics only; 2:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.). For the third option, EDGE will work cooperatively with Erie 1 BOCES’ Twilight program to offer evening academics at Harkness.

DeMartin pointed out the EDGE Academy is the first of its kind in this region of New York State.

“It’s innovative and it’s all about thinking outside the box to offer outstanding services to students,” he said.

With the academy’s debut just months away, DeMartin pointed out the groundwork has already formed. This school year at Northtowns Academy, a drama class was revived and the business program was amped up with an entrepreneurship class, which incorporated a school store into its curriculum. Counselors have been meeting with students to determine their individual transition plans by reviewing completed coursework, coursework that is still outstanding and where they see themselves after graduation.

DeMartin added middle school students in MiddleTech Academy (which has similar goals to EDGE) will likely attend EDGE when they transition to high school.

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