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Alternative school students face stigma and have significantly higher levels of trauma and poverty compared to other students in the district.

HOPE Alternative Learning Program THRIVE team members share their vision

The HOPE Alternative Learning Program (HOPE ALP) of Edgecombe County has helped alternative school students become more resilient and taught community members to be more trauma-informed. HOPE stands for Honor, Opportunity, Purpose, Excellence. The program relies on these principles to provide mental health and behavior management skills for students with academic, psychological, emotional, and behavioral concerns. After a principal or superintendent recommends a student for HOPE ALP, they will build a plan for their success and gain access to daily support from a health and wellness counselor. With these tools, the students are given the power to become more resilient to the challenging situations many of them face every day, allowing them to better focus on their academics. Along the way, local leaders and educators are also engaged to learn how trauma may impact students, how institutions can exacerbate that trauma, and how to update harmful policies with healing ones.

Ideally, school mental health systems provide many services that promote positive school climate, social and emotional learning, and well-being while reducing the prevalence and severity of mental illness. Schools often have Specialized Instructional Support Personnel including a counselor, social worker, nurse and psychologist to help students. HOPE ALP students unfortunately do not have equitable access to these opportunities, as the school currently has no Specialized Instructional Support Personnel. Our goals for this year include making partnerships that will result in sustainable mental health services for HOPE ALP students.

With Specialized Instructional Support Personnel, we can create a comprehensive school mental health program.

Proposed Aims:

  • Development of infrastructure that will sustain and expand behavioral health services and support for HOPE ALP students.
  • Increase knowledge and access to local services like Healthy Opportunity Pilots, who offer improvement in social determinants of health for HOPE ALP students/families who are experiencing the greatest need.
  • Outreach and engagement with HOPE ALP youth and their families to increase awareness and utilization of onsite mental health services, promote the importance of Adolescent Behavioral Health (mental wellbeing), and connection between insurance coverage and health outcomes.
  • HOPE will serve as a model for trauma-informed behavioral health support in an Alternative Learning Program setting in NC and beyond, giving special attention to the needs of students at greatest risk of poor health, based on social conditions.

 

Community-Academic Partners

This project will be led by the following Edgecombe community members and UNC faculty:

Na’im Akbar
Rural Opportunity Institute
Tatyana Weathersbe
Rural Opportunity Institute

 

Stacy Rosser
Gillings School of Global Public Health
Andrew Bradford
School of Nursing

 

HOPE Alternative Learning Program THRIVE: Teen's Health and Resilience is Vital to Education. 21 students served by an onsite mental health clinician 2022-2023.

News

The HOPE (Honor Opportunity Purpose Excellence) Alternative Learning Program: A Replication Success Story


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