Alternatives for Success
601 W. Cedar Avenue
Norfolk, NE 68701
The Alternatives for Success (AFS) program is part of the Norfolk Senior High School and was established in 1997 to help numerous at-risk students successfully pursue and obtain their goal of high school graduation.
The MISSION of Alternatives for Success:
To help students value education and learning in a way that is meaningful and relevant to the student.
The PHILOSOPHY of Alternatives for Success:
Larry Brendtro, Martin Brokenleg, and Steve VanBockern from Augustana University (Reclaiming Youth) have developed a model that identifies four critical need areas that impact an individual's ability to function effectively in the world: (1) Mastery, (2) Belonging, (3) Independence, and (4) Generosity. Brendtro et.al. suggest that in order to function effectively and productively in life, these four areas must be fulfilled and balanced. Students that are experiencing difficulties in and out of school will have one or more of these areas unfulfilled or in some way distorted. Therefore, to become a balanced and successful individual, the critical need areas must be systematically addressed.
For most students, the issue is one of mastery. Academic failure for a variety of reasons make accommodations in the classroom, organizational/study skills, mastery learning,(e.g. OdysseyWare & Apex On-line Curriculums) and helping students identify and pursue other areas of mastery a critical component. AFS provides more flexibility for students in order for them to achieve mastery.
Some of the students that will be involved with AFS struggle with, or have a distorted sense of belonging due to life circumstances beyond their control. Peer alienation, difficulty with adult and authority figures, and out of home placements all contribute to difficulties with belonging. AFS thus will provide opportunities to learn and acquire new social skills, anger management, and opportunities to connect positively with adults and peers.
Community service projects can systematically be developed (for credit) to promote a sense of generosity. Opportunities that allow students to go beyond themselves for a greater purpose can help students excel and will be a component of AFS.
Independence is the goal of adolescence. For many of our youth and certainly for young adults, this equates to the self-sufficiency that can be attained by getting and sustaining a job. Thus, vocational education and the teaching of specific work readiness skills are crucial for some of the students involved in AFS. The coordination of job shadowing, unpaid and paid work placements for credit is another AFS component.