Kelly, a student at a suburban middle school, had been assigned to the Alternative-to-Suspension (ATS) Program for fighting with a classmate. When she was approached by the same classmate a few weeks later, she chose to react differently.
"I didn't fight back,” Kelly told Andrea Bertucci, the social learning specialist, who leads the ATS program. “You helped me see that isn't me, and even though I hurt right now, I'm really proud of myself."
Instead of being suspended or sent home from school for the first fight, Kelly spent time in ATS. A teacher’s aide helped her stay on top of her academic work while Andrea worked with her on problem solving and decision making skills.
“She really thought about her choices, and she was able to identify the different points when she could have made a choice that might have led to a very different outcome,” Andrea says. “She took responsibility for her role and apologized. “
In 2014-15, the ATS program at the school saved 394 days of instruction and empowered students like Kelly to take control of their actions. Kelly successfully completed the school year without being involved in another altercation.