The E.C.H.O. Alternative School Program has been in existence since 1989 providing educational services for students throughout ROE #21. The program emerged from an interest of local school administrators and educators to provide programming for students considered to be at-risk of dropping out of school. The program was initiated to provide students who did not qualify for special educational services and were not experiencing success in the traditional day school program, for a variety of reasons, with an option to continue their education.
E.C.H.O. has expanded over time to meet the educational needs of at-risk students, grades 7 to 12. The program is available to any student residing in Franklin, Johnson, Massac, and Williamson Counties. To participate in the Alternative School program, a student must be officially enrolled in his/her Home School District and be referred by the administration of their Home School. Students who will benefit from the educational structure and environment of E.C.H.O. may exhibit some but not all of the following characteristics:
- “At-risk” status due to social emotional factors that may affect the student’s ability to attain academic success, such as: frequent mobility, low self-esteem, and various family situations.
- Overage for grade level.
- Students who do not qualify for special educational services but would benefit from an alternative form of educational structure providing an individualized and remedial approach.
- History or current, incompatibility with traditional day school that may be indicated through truancy, minor discipline problems, and academic failure.
ECHO is a Trauma Sensitive School with trained staff and a focus on the whole child:
- A trauma-informed school promotes a safe and welcoming climate
- Seeks to create a structured and predictable learning environment that minimizes unnecessary trauma and loss reminders
- Focuses on building positive and attuned relationships between teachers and students, and among school staff
- Has anti-bullying and suicide prevention programs; and
- Uses a balanced restorative justice (a.k.a. restorative practices) approach to conflict and conflict mediation with appropriate disciplinary action.
Home Schools are responsible for recommending students who exhibit characteristics that lead the Home School personnel to believe the student may be successful at E.C.H.O. Factors that should be considered are ability level, student support, parent support, discipline history, and willingness to participate in credit recovery. It is the goal of the E.C.H.O. staff to do what is best for the individual student in cooperation with the student’s Home School. The Principal will work with the Home Schools when a student’s success at E.C.H.O. may be questionable.
Process for Enrollment
To enroll in the Project ECHO Alternative School a student must first be enrolled in a public school district within Franklin, Johnson, Massac, or Williamson Counties. The home school will complete a referral form and be in contact with ECHO administration regarding the reason for transfer and goals for the student. Once ECHO receives the referral, we will be in contact to set up a registration appointment. Students accompanied by their parent/guardian and a member of the home school team will be required to attend an enrollment conference with ECHO administration. All students enrolled in ECHO will have an Individualized Optional Education Plan (IOEP) that will identify student goals and guide their education plans.