This story was submitted by Valley View School District 365U:
With a year of experience under their belts, the Romeoville Recreation Department will again serve as a community partner in Romeoville High School’s highly successful Alternative to Discipline Program.
“The Recreation Department and the village see any opportunity to partner with the school district as a good opportunity and we support it heartily,” said Colleen Palmer, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for Romeoville. “At the end of the day, we’re all here for the kids in this community.”
The RHS Alternative to Discipline Program (ADP), formerly called Alternative to Suspension, is a community-based behavior modification program designed to provide assistance for students with small to moderate behavior issues.
“Five years ago these kids would have been suspended for five or ten days and missed countless hours in the classroom,” said RHS Dean Bill Russell, who heads up the school’s ADP. “This keeps them in the classroom where they belong while we figure out what gets them motivated.”
When a student is referred to the ADP program, community groups such as Heart Haven Outreach, Guiding Light, Success Academy and Romeoville Recreation step in to lend a hand, providing adult-led opportunities for students to learn responsibility.
In Romeoville Recreation’s case, ADP participants help Romeoville Recreation Center building managers with such things as room set up and take down, cleaning and general building attendant duties.
“We focus in on after-school activities to help these at-risk kids,” Palmer said. “It gives them an opportunity to work in the community and it helps us too because they see what the community has to offer for them and their friends. A lot of kids don’t realize we have this wonderful community recreation center where they can come after school and on weekends.”
Referrals to ADP generally come when a student is chronically late to school or class, or is involved in some sort of verbal or physical aggression with a teacher or another student. Less serious offenses are still handled through detentions. More serious offenses such as bringing weapons into school, drug issues or gang-related activities require more significant consequences which are specifically laid out in School Board policy and state law.
“Using the theory that every kid makes a mistake now and then, this program is awesome,” Russell said. “It gives the students a chance to fix the problem without compromising their academic achievement.”
Russell said RHS is always looking for community partners like Romeoville Recreation to work with the program.
“The more community partners we have, the more options we have to get the kids on the right path,” he said. “Every day we see kids who need help.”
Russell may be reached by calling 815-407-5005.