Save the Crestwood Middle School ALPS program sign now

The ALPS program at Crestwood Middle School has proven to be a highly-successful educational alternative for 25 years. The students that participate in this program learn valuable life skills such as time management, self-initiative, and discipline in a way that is not typically part of a traditional middle school curriculum. The students and families that choose the ALPS program for their middle-schoolers are committed to the concept and are supportive of the staff and their efforts, which requires a lot of parental involvement and support. In return, the ALPS staff is dedicated to ensuring that every child is motivated and keeping up academically which is accomplished by a great deal of communication and partnership with the parents. It is acknowledged that this type of program would not be suitable for every student or family situation as there needs to be dedication on the part of the student, parents and teachers for it to be successful.

To arbitrarily, eliminate the program under the proposal presented by Principal Merl Siefkin, that the ALPS students would be mainstreamed with the other programs (traditional, MAC) and therefore have every student operating under the ALPS concept is not terribly realistic. We would ask that the following be considered:
1. Not every student is capable of operating under or would thrive academically under the principles of the ALPS program
2. Given the state of the district's budget and the recent teacher contract issues, how CAN the school support an ALPS-type program school wide as proposed- where are these resources going to come from?
3. Mr. Siefkin in his presentation to the Board on 4/18 indicated that ALPS would be eliminated and be replaced by a "Gifted and Talented" Program yet provided no details at all on that program. How would a separate "Gifted & Talented" program be any less "exclusive" to the general school population than the ALPS program? How would this program be any less "economically-privileged" than it is alleged that ALPS is?
4. Mr. Siefkin alleged that the impetus for this change was staff-generated and claims that the staff was in agreement on proposed future direction. Yet polled staff were either unaware of the initiative or in fact, NOT in agreement. Who IS supporting this initiative?
5. The statistics that were quoted were not fully indicative of the true status of the enrollment and as pointed out by Board Member Steve Dabrowski, merely indicate trends versus valid data. We would ask that if statistics are going to be utilized to eliminate a proven educational program from our children, that it be based upon sound data and would hope that Mr. Siefkin and the Board would perform their due diligence before presenting such data in the future.

We therefore, respectfully request that the Kentwood Public Schools Board revisit this proposal and investigate further whether elimination of the ALPS program is supported by the students, parents, staff and taxpayers that the Board is mandated to represent, prior to allowing the elimination of a successful program that has help the KPS system achieve the high-levels of academic recognition that they currently receive.

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Carolina FigueroaBy:
International PolicyIn:
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Kentwood Public Schools Board of Education

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