Mason Cookson is a senior set to graduate in March 2021. He has been a student at CA the majority of his high school career. Mason has wrestled for Cape...
Embracing Second Chances: The Transition Program
November 17, 2020
As all human beings do, I have made mistakes in my life. One of those mistakes resulted in my being sent to the Transition Program at Central Academy. The Transition program, in a couple words, is a program helping students get back into the regular setting at the alternative school or providing them an opportunity when they have run out of chances.
When I first started the program I was scared and didn’t know what to expect. I quickly realized that Mr. Collier, the teacher and coordinator of the program, wanted to help me get back on track and to make the right choices. His attitude and approach with myself, helped me turn Transition into a positive and I used my time there to do some self-reflecting. I worked hard on class work, had those tough conversations, and apologized in a formal way for my actions that got me sent there in the first place. After I left the Transition program I felt proud of myself for embracing the opportunity and I was thankful I wasn’t just kicked out and forgotten about.
Students can find themselves placed in Transition for a variety of reasons and not all of them start out at CA first, some come straight from the main school buildings. Transition is for students who are struggling with behaviors, have a major behavior incident in or out of school, are way behind in grades or even students who have requested this placement because they have a full-time job or family to support – but they really want that high school education. Transition is there to help students and is just another way the school district is trying to meet students where they are at and help them succeed.
“Reasoning.” sums up the skill that students are typically lacking, says Mr. Collier. “A lot of students lack reasoning skills. They need a sense of direction on which way they want to take their life. They don’t know when to quit and when to focus. They need to choose a sense of direction.” Mr. Collier acts as that guide, to helping students learn reasoning skills.
To complete Transition and go back to full days at CA, there are three criteria: you pass all of your assigned classes, you have 90% attendance, you have no major behavior referrals. If you can do those three things in the transition setting then you are given the opportunity to go back to full days at CA. *for at least a quarter. The only flaw the Transition program has, in my opinion, is the location. The program is at a different campus, with Positive Pathways. If the program was at least closer to CA then there would be a larger support-system from both teachers and other students.
When asked what interested him in getting started in the Transition program, Mr. Collier replied, “I want to help people better themselves and to become better citizens. I want to help them become productive students and learn how to be successful in the classroom setting. I’ve worked in similar work for over 30 years in different settings throughout the juvenile setting. It seemed like a pretty good calling.” And so far he has done a tremendous job helping run that program, making it his own, and helping students reach those goals.
Both Mr. Collier and the Transition Program are essential to students who sometimes struggle in the school setting. Without the program and Mr. Collier I might still not be back going to school full day and I wouldn’t be so close to graduation. Being placed in Transition and embracing the opportunity is a good lesson in life that can apply to anyone.