What is the Choices program?
Choices is an after-school, ten (10) session instructional program designed to serve students who consistently demonstrate inappropriate behaviors, excluding truancy, that interfere with learning. Students placed in this program have not successfully implemented the behavioral interventions recommended by the school’s Student Support Team (SST) and administrative staff. The Choices curriculum provides students with information and activities to develop skills necessary to make appropriate choices and understand the impact of anti-social behavior on their lives and the lives of their families and communities. Virginia Beach City Public Schools' Student Support Specialists and certified prevention specialists from the City of Virginia Beach Department of Human Services teach the research-based social skills curricula. Placement in Choices is offered to students in lieu of suspension.
How are students referred to the program?
The principal, parent/guardian, hearing officer, or School Board Discipline Committee may initiate the placement process as an alternative to suspension. The Choices program is designed to serve eight to ten students at one time in an after-school program in the student’s home school. Students should be referred to Choices after interventions from the Student Support Team have proven unsuccessful or prior to suspension. Research indicates that the earlier the cycle of problematic behavior is addressed, the more likely the intervention will be successful.
What is the referral process?
The principal/assistant principal meets with the parent/guardian and the student to review the requirements of the Choices program to determine whether or not the student and parent/guardian accept the responsibilities of this placement. If the Choices placement is agreed upon, the principal/assistant principal explains each of the program’s contractual components and has the student and parent/guardian initial each area. The school’s principal/assistant principal contacts the Choices intervention staff assigned to their building to reserve the next available placement date and forwards copies of the completed contract, referral form, and discipline record of the student. A copy of these documents should be provided to the parent/guardian of the student and retained in the student’s discipline record.
What curriculum and services are provided?
Two Choices programs are offered: one at the middle school level and one at the high school level. The Second Step curriculum model will be implemented in the Choices program for the middle school students. The Reconnecting Youth curriculum will be implemented with high school students. Both Second Step and Reconnecting Youth are research-based social skills curricula designed to reduce impulsive, high-risk, and aggressive behaviors. Included in these curricula are group discussions, modeling, coaching, and practice to increase the student’s decision-making ability and self-regulation. Trained intervention staff from Virginia Beach City Public Schools and the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services facilitates the program. Parents/guardians must attend one meeting to review the program’s expectations and curriculum. At this meeting parents are given the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the Choices staff to discuss their concerns. When students complete the Choices program, they are assigned to their home school’s Student Support Specialist for supplementary support services.
Is transportation provided?
Yes. Students will ride the after-school activity bus that takes them to their neighborhood.
Are special education students accepted?
Special education students are accepted into Choices. The school will provide a copy of the student’s Individual Education Program accommodation page to the Choices intervention staff to ensure the implementation of accommodations during the program.
Students are required to make up any missed Choices curriculum assignments. Because consistent attendance in the program is critical, students must adhere to the following protocol. If one day is missed as an excused absence, students will receive compacted instruction to make up missed curriculum. If the student misses another session, the Choices intervention staff will contact the parent/guardian to determine the appropriateness of the student continuing in the program. A recommendation to the school’s principal or designee will follow. Students, parents/guardians, teachers, and school administrators will receive notification when the Choices program is completed. Students completing the Choices program will be referred to a Student Support Specialist for additional support services in their home school.
Whom can I contact for additional information about the Choices program?
Secondary Instructional Transition Specialist: Latonya Ferguson
5100 Cleveland Street
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
Office Hours: 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Monday - Friday