Overview of Education Services
The Office of Juvenile Justice has the task of delivering educational services to a diverse population: diverse in age, in geographic location, in individual needs, and in academic functioning. All youth of mandatory school age who are placed in OJJ custody or supervision shall be enrolled in a school program approved by the LA Department of Education. It is the intent of the Division of Education to deliver appropriate educational services to each individual student.
The challenge is to design and implement an educational program that is evidenced based and meets the unique needs of this at-risk student population. The educational programs include development and enhancement of academic skills, job readiness skills, life skills, and vocational training.
The mission of the Division of Education is to prepare students to become lifelong learners and productive citizens by providing a structured educational environment that will meet the individual needs of all students. This educational environment will provide skills that promote the maximum academic, vocational, physical, social, and emotional development of each student.
The Division of Education affirms the belief that all students are capable of learning and have the right to educational opportunities. The alternative schools of the Office of Juvenile Justice provide an educational program, in concert with treatment and security that is responsive to the individual needs of the student. The Office of Juvenile Justice believes the general public and communities will benefit from a better educated and well-adjusted student, which will produce a better citizen less likely to recidivate and more likely to make positive contributions to society.
Continuum of Educational Programming
Educational programming varies depending on the placement of the youth. The Office of Juvenile Justice, Division of Education provides educational programming for youth in secure care facilities. Educational services for youth in non-secure placement are provided through community providers and in partnership with local school districts.
Secure Care Educational Services
The following is a list of school programs in secure care facilities:
Riverside Alternative High School
Bridge City Center for Youth
School Office: 504-437-3052
Southside Alternative High School Pinehill Alternative High School
Swanson Center for Youth Swanson Center for Youth at Columbia
School Office: 318-651-4840 Control Center: 318-649-2385
Educational program offerings at these schools include:
- Academic curriculum that aligns with the comprehensive curriculum and the Common Core Curriculum for Louisiana schools
- Remediation and academic recovery for struggling students
- Statewide Assessments and High Stakes Testing (PARCC, iLEAP, LEAP, End of Course, LAA1, LAA2)
- Statewide Assessments - Explore-8th and 9th grade, Plan-10th grade, ACT 11th grade
- Carnegie Unit Classes
- National ACT Testing Site
- HiSET classes and testing
- Vocational programs
- Postsecondary programs
Currently there are 6 vocational program offerings between the three secure care sites. These include:
- Automotive/Small engines
- C-Tech - (fiber optics and wiring)
- Culinary Arts
Administrative and educational personnel hold valid Louisiana Teaching Certificates and all are certified in their areas of instruction.
These schools operate year round and students are enrolled six hours per day at their appropriate levels of academic performance. Students who are eligible are given the opportunity to participate in HiSET preparation and/or vocational programs. Students who have obtained a high school diploma and/or high school equivalency diploma are given the opportunity to enroll in vocational programs and/or postsecondary programs.
Child Search (evaluation of education programs for students with disabilities) is conducted at intake and if a student has a history of academic and/or behavioral difficulties, a referral is made to the school building level committee (SBLC).
Recommendations are made for interventions and/or accommodations or modifications in the student’s educational program. If further assessments are needed to rule out an educational disability, the student is referred for an individual evaluation conducted by a multidisciplinary pupil appraisal team.
Special Education services are provided by Special School Programs (SSP) through an interagency agreement with the Louisiana Department of Education. SSP follows all the requirements of federal and state laws pertinent to that specific population. Services include:
- Child Search
- Initial and re-evaluations
- Initial and review Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
- Related services – i.e. counseling, speech therapy
- Support services
- Participant on the School Building Level Team
- Instruction to eligible special education students according to their Individual Education Plan (IEP)
Non-secure Educational Programs
The Office of Juvenile Justice contracts with various community providers across the state to provide specialized services for youth transitioning into the community, as well as youth in custody who are not placed in secure care.
The educational needs of these youth are addressed depending upon the setting in which the youth is placed. The following is a list of possible educational programs:
- Attend regular public school in the community in which youth is residing – the local educational district
- Attend an alternative school in the local educational district
- Attend school on the grounds of the residential treatment program or group home
- Teachers may be provided by the community provider which has obtained approval from the Department of Education as an alternative school.
- Teachers may be provided by the local school district where the program is located.