Al­ter­na­tive Learn­ing Pro­gram Awarded

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - COMMUNITY - By Lynn Kut­ter

FARM­ING­TON — Farm­ing­ton High School was one of only four schools in the state to be rec­og­nized for its 2017 test scores in English, read­ing and writ­ing for stu­dents in the al­ter­na­tive ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram.

Farm­ing­ton re­ceived “Carolyn Pol­lan’s Top High­est Achiev­ing Al­ter­na­tive Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram” award at a Lead­er­ship Day held Feb. 13 at the state Capi­tol. The other three schools rec­og­nized were Ben­tonville, Har­mony Grove-Oua­chita and McCrory.

The award was based on scores for the spring 2017 ACT As­pire ex­ams.

Farm­ing­ton’s ALE pro­gram, called Car­di­nal Academy, now is housed at the old high school but last year it was lo­cated at Bos­ton Moun­tain Ed­u­ca­tional Co­op­er­a­tive in West Fork. The co­op­er­a­tive’s ALE cen­ter closed and Farm­ing­ton brought its pro­gram back on cam­pus for the 201718 school year.

Farm­ing­ton re­ceived the high achiev­ing award for its stu­dents at­tend­ing the ALE cen­ter in West Fork.

Farm­ing­ton High Prin­ci­pal Jon Pu­ri­foy gives a lot of the credit for the award to Glenda Bolinger, who serves as the Car­di­nal Academy fa­cil­i­ta­tor in Farm­ing­ton. In West Fork, Bolinger wore sev­eral hats for the co­op­er­a­tive’s ALE cen­ter, in­clud­ing nurse, sec­re­tary and book­keeper.

“It’s a good pro­gram and is suc­cess­ful,” Pu­ri­foy said. “The per­son who leads it also makes a dif­fer­ence.”

Bolinger loves the stu­dents and cares about them, Pu­ri­foy said, not­ing she is a “mother fig­ure” to many of the stu­dents in the pro­gram.

“She is one of the rea­sons we’re get­ting these awards be­cause of the con­nec­tions she makes with the kids. Re­la­tion­ships are a big deal for all kids,” Pu­ri­foy said.

Bolinger is quick to point out she is not a cer­ti­fied teacher in the pro­gram and does not take credit for the test scores.

She ac­knowl­edges, though, that al­ter­na­tive ed­u­ca­tion takes ev­ery­one in­volved work­ing as a team.

“You have to be will­ing to step out of your com­fort area,” Bolinger said.

In ad­di­tion to her other du­ties, Bolinger also has re­ceived train­ing re­quired by Arkansas As­so­ci­a­tion of Al­ter­na­tive Ed­u­ca­tors and Vir­tual Arkansas and train­ing in ag­gres­sion re­duc­tion.

Both Pu­ri­foy and Bolinger said mov­ing the ALE back to Farm­ing­ton has ben­e­fited stu­dents.

“It’s an ad­van­tage in the fact these kids can be more in­volved with ac­tiv­i­ties go­ing on at the high school,” Pu­ri­foy said. “They are our kids. At Bos­ton Moun­tain, they were mixed with other kids.”

Bolinger said the pro­gram has ac­cess to a school bus and that is an­other plus for hav­ing the pro­gram on cam­pus.

“If op­por­tu­ni­ties come up for the stu­dents, we can take ad­van­tage of them,” Bolinger said.

A for­mer Farm­ing­ton High School stu­dent, Lance Payne, also was rec­og­nized at the Lead­er­ship Day for a Stu­dent Di­a­mond Award. These awards are given to stu­dents based on teacher nom­i­na­tions and takes into con­sid­er­a­tion a stu­dent’s char­ac­ter and what he or she may have had to overcome in life. Payne now is a se­nior at Green­land High.

COUR­TESY PHOTO

Glenda Bolinger, fa­cil­i­ta­tor for Farm­ing­ton High School’s al­ter­na­tive ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram, and Jon Pu­ri­foy, school prin­ci­pal, ac­cept an award from the Arkansas Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Arkansas Al­ter­na­tive Ed­u­ca­tion. Lori Lamb, di­rec­tor of the state’s...

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