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Tulsa's first alternative education program for younger students

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Many folks think school suspensions are a high school or middle school problem. But more than 2,200 suspensions were handed down to Tulsa elementary school students, last year alone. And unlike high schoolers, many troubled elementary students don't have an alternative to turn to, until now.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims has more on a new program that's giving younger students a second chance to succeed.

Some Tulsa school teachers are training for an assignment many of their peers wouldn't want, but veteran teacher Beverly Thompson says there's no place else she'd rather be. "This is what I've looked for my entire career. This is what I've hoped education would come to."

Thompson has a passion for students, not the over-acheivers, but the ones who struggle. And that's why she's happy to be a part of the first-ever stand-alone, alternative elementary school.

Their goal, to get elementary students who have problems back on the right track. "The children we are going to be servicing are kids who have had problems in their schools but these are not throw-away kids these are kids that have potential these are kids that can succeed."

Next week, the halls of Tulsa's newest school will be filled with the first batch of alternative elementary students. But this is not intended to be a final destination, just a pit stop. Kathy McIntyre, Alternative Elementary Principal: "we are a temporary program to find out where their learning differences lie to give them the supports necessary for success and then transition them with our supportive staff back into their home school setting."

To get students back on the road to success, they'll have lots of help. Each class has a teacher, a para-professional, a therapist and a case manager. And one parent says this could be exactly what her son needs. Tricia Edwards: "I'm very excited. This is something we've been looking forward to cause I want him to stay on the right track in school and apply himself better and they seem like they can help us with that."
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