Nebraska's Tool Kit for Systems Involved in the Education of Students in Out-of-Home Care

Tool C-1: Frequently Asked Questions
Interim-Program Schools and Special Purpose Schools

Part Four: Elementary & Secondary Education
Section C. Interim-Program & Special Purpose Schools/Alternative Education Programs


high school students at deskThe following summarizes questions about Interim-Program Schools and Special Purpose Schools often posed by the primary systems involved in the education of students in out-of-home care. The responses are based on federal law, Nebraska statute, administrative rules, regulations and State agency memoranda. However, in some cases, the response may be primarily dictated by each school’s policies and procedures. Familiarity and discussion with the school as to how its policies, procedures and protocols may relate to a particular child or youth under a specific set of circumstances is recommended as a matter of “best practice” and may greatly assist in advocating for that student and achievement of his or her academic and vocational goals.

For more information about Nebraska’s Interim-Program Schools and Special Purpose Schools, refer to Nebraska Department of Education’s “Rule 18: Interim-Program Schools in County Detention Homes, Institutions and Juvenile Emergency Shelters” and “Rule 10: Regulations and Procedures for the Accreditation of Schools”. These administrative rules and regulations are available on the Nebraska Department of Education website: http://www.education.ne.gov/Legal/Current_NDE_Rules.html

 

A Map and Listing of Nebraska’s Approved Interim-Program Schools and Accredited Special Purpose Schools are provided in the Systems Tool Kit – Part Four, Tool C-2.

 

Interim-Program Schools


1. What is an Interim-Program School?

An Interim-Program School is a program located in or operated by a juvenile detention facility, emergency shelter, institution or other type of residential setting which provides out-of-home care for children and youth under nineteen (19) years of age. These programs provide continuity of instruction for students who temporarily reside in these facilities and cannot attend public school for reasons of health or safety. Currently, there are eighteen (18) Interim-Program Schools approved by the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) through ”Rule 18: Interim-Program Schools in County Detention Homes, Institutions and Juvenile Emergency Shelters”. (Source: Nebraska Department of Education - Title 92 NAC Chapter 18-002.15)

For more information about Nebraska’s Interim-Program Schools, refer to “Rule 18: Interim-Program Schools in County Detention Homes, Institutions and Juvenile Emergency Shelters” on the Nebraska Department of Education website: http://www.education.ne.gov/LEGAL/webrulespdf/clean18_2003.pdf


2. Under what circumstances would a student attend an Interim-Program School?

Students in juvenile detention facilities, emergency shelters or institutions may temporarily attend an Interim-Program School when they cannot attend public school for reasons of health or safety. These students may be experiencing significant and multiple transitions, including changes in residential placement, school and legal status. The majority are involved in the child welfare, juvenile justice and/or criminal justice systems, with a significant portion being State wards. An increasing number have significant behavioral and mental health diagnoses. Alcohol and substance abuse may also be evident. For many of these students, minimal school engagement, truancy, school suspension, expulsion or dropping out have been common and re-occurring themes. There is also generally a higher incidence of students with disabilities who receive special education and related services.

Interim-Program Schools typically have students originating from many different public school districts across Nebraska as well as some from other states. While temporarily attending an Interim-Program School, students remain in membership and on the attendance rolls of their school district of residence as determined under Nebraska Revised Statute §79-215. A student’s length of stay in an Interim-Program School may range from a few days in an emergency shelter or juvenile detention center, to several months in a longer-term residential care or treatment program. (Source: Nebraska Revised Statute §79-215; and Nebraska Department of Education - Title 92 NAC Chapter 18-001.01 and 18-004.01)

For more information about School Residency and Responsibility, refer to the Systems Tool Kit - Part Four, Tool B-2: Frequently Asked Questions - School Residency and Responsibility for Students in Out-of-Home Care.


3. What do students study while attending an Interim-Program School?

All State-approved and accredited schools in Nebraska, whether they be an Interim-Program School, Special Purpose School, public or non-public school, must provide students with the opportunity to learn through a curriculum that meets State academic standards. The Nebraska Department of Education’s Rule 18 requires Interim-Program Schools make instruction available to all students in Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies/History each school day in all grade levels for which the school is approved. Other courses may also be offered, such as a foreign language, Career Education, Computer Science, Personal Health, Physical Fitness, and Visual and Performing Arts. However, in some cases, students will continue studying the curriculum and homework assignments from the school where they will be returning, particularly when attending an Interim-Program School for a relatively short length of time. Several Interim-Program Schools provide a General Educational Development (GED) preparatory program.

Many students attending Interim-Program Schools make significant academic progress while in these classroom settings. While Interim-Program Schools do not directly award academic credits or high school diplomas, students do receive credit for school work completed while attending the Interim-Program School from the public school where they will return or transfer. The transfer and acceptance of academic credits by the receiving school is critical to the student’s continued grade progression and eventual graduation. (Source: Nebraska Department of Education - Title 92 NAC Chapter 18-004.01C, 18-004.02B2, and 18-006)

For more information about Delivery of Education Services to Students in Interim-Program Schools as well as Transition from Interim-Program School to Public School or Other Education Program, refer to the Systems Tool Kit - Part Four, Tool C-3: Sample Processes.


4. What is an Academic Advancement Plan in an Interim-Program School?

An Academic Advancement Plan is an individualized plan of expected academic achievement in regular education developed for each student attending an Interim-Program School. It is designed to promote continuity of instruction and academic achievement, leading toward the student’s grade level promotion and eventual graduation. The Interim-Program School, in consultation with the school where the student will return or transfer, develops the Academic Advancement Plan, outlining the type of curriculum, coursework and instructional strategies which work best for each student. (Source: Nebraska Department of Education - Title 92 NAC Chapter 18-002.01 and 18-004.02F)

5. How are special education and related services provided to students with disabilities while attending an Interim-Program School?
The School Liaison of the Interim-Program School where the student is attending contacts with the public school district of residence which is responsible for ensuring the availability of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for resident students. This includes providing or contracting for special education and related services pursuant to the Nebraska Department of Education’s “Rule 51: Regulations and Standards for Special Education Programs”. However, the Interim-Program School may assist the school district in fulfilling those responsibilities. An Interim-Program School may also apply to the Nebraska Department of Education to become a provisionally approved special education service provider. (Source: Nebraska Department of Education - Title 92 NAC Chapter 18-004.02F2 and 18-005; and Nebraska Department of Education - Title 92 NAC Chapter 51-004.01)

For more information about Students with Disabilities in Interim-Program Schools and Special Education, refer to the following administrative rules and regulations on the Nebraska Department of Education’s website:


6. How are a student’s academic credits earned while attending an Interim-Program School applied to the receiving public school or Special Purpose School?

Nebraska Department of Education’s Rule 18 and Rule 10 require that academic credits earned by a student while attending an Interim-Program School must be accepted by the receiving school. (Source: Nebraska Department of Education - Title 92 NAC Chapter 10-003.05B; and Title 92 NAC Chapter 18-008)

 

Special Purpose Schools


1. What is a Special Purpose School?

Special Purpose Schools, public school districts and private schools are accredited by the Nebraska Department of Education through “Rule 10: Regulations and Procedures for the Accreditation of Schools”. Nebraska’s five (5) Special Purpose Schools have the same authority and responsibilities as public schools, including being able to award academic credits and high school diplomas. However, due to the unique circumstances of the school or its student population, each Special Purpose School enters into a Special Purpose Agreement which is approved by the Nebraska State Accreditation Committee and State Board of Education. While this Agreement specifies modifications in Rule 10’s non-mandatory requirements, the Special Purpose School must fully comply with all mandatory requirements for legal operation. (Source: Nebraska Department of Education - Title 92 NAC Chapter 10-113.04 and 10-113.05)

For more information about Nebraska’s Special Purpose Schools, refer to “Rule 10: Regulations and Procedures for the Accreditation of Schools” on the Nebraska Department of Education website: http://www.education.ne.gov/Legal/webrulespdf/RULE_10_2012_JULY.pdf


2. Where are the Special Purpose Schools located and under what circumstances does a student attend one of these schools?

  • Geneva North School is located at the State-operated Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center (YRTC) in Geneva. This staff secure institutional facility serves female State wards under nineteen (19) years of age who have been adjudicated for delinquency in Juvenile Court and committed to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Children and Family Services’ Office of Juvenile Services (DHHS-OJS).

  • Kearney West High School is located at the State-operated YRTC in Kearney. This staff secure institutional facility serves male State wards under nineteen (19) years of age who have been adjudicated for delinquency in Juvenile Court and committed to DHHS-OJS.

  • Nebraska Department of Correctional Services’ NCYF Community High School is based at the Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility (NCYF) in Omaha. Its students are primarily felons under twenty-two (22) years of age who have been convicted as adults in criminal court and sentenced to prison for terms ranging from one (1) year to life. These inmates will be moved to another prison facility based on their security classification (maximum, medium or minimum security) once they turn twenty-two (22) years of age. The NCYF Community High School also coordinates and provides education and related services to inmates of compulsory school attendance age at any of the other prison facilities operated by the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.

  • Pine Ridge Job Corps is a no-cost education and vocational training program administered by the United States Department of Labor and operated by United States Department of Agriculture – Forest Service. There are several Job Corps located throughout the United States that help youth, sixteen (16) to twenty-four (24) years of age, improve the quality of their lives by teaching the skills they need to become employable and independent. The Pine Ridge Job Corps near Chadron provides a Special Purpose School for students from Nebraska and nearby states. Participation is voluntary, with youth agreeing to remain at Job Corps until they receive a high school diploma or GED and complete the vocational training program. Once youth have completed these requirements, Job Corps further assists by placing them in meaningful jobs or post-secondary education.

  • Unlike the other Special Purpose Schools, the University of Nebraska’s Independent Study High School, based on the Lincoln campus, is non-residential. It provides a wide variety of online classes to students throughout the United States as well as countries worldwide.

3. What do students study while attending a Special Purpose School?
All Special Purpose School must meet the same mandatory curriculum requirements and standards for student learning as any public school accredited by the Nebraska Department of Education. This includes instruction in the core curriculum areas of Reading/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies as well as Personal Health, Physical Education, Visual and Performing Arts, Foreign Language and Career Education. (Source: Nebraska Department of Education - Title 92 NAC Chapter 10-003 and 10-004)

 

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