District Judge Bob Armstrong believes the former Phoenix School has a future as a Day School modeled after similar operations in Alabama.

Phoenix School could become Day School

Published 12:33am Thursday, March 1, 2012

For many, the alternative school known as Phoenix School carries a stigma, especially for students who have attended it. Now, thanks to a team of local visionaries, the school can be an example of education for others to follow.

During the Selma City School Board’s work session Tuesday, District Judge Bob Armstrong, along with supporters, presented the board with the possible plan to change the school into a rehabilitative-type center “of hope” for local at-risk youth.

The “Day School,” which has been successful in both Montgomery and Ashville, Armstrong said, would offer a range of services including mental health and family counseling, life skills training, educational classes and recreational activities among others. Funding for the center would also be provided.

“We’d love to see a day school here in Dallas County,” Armstrong said. “What we’re talking about is a new vision — something that’s really cool, cutting edge and that’s worked in other places. We’ve got the expertise to pull it off here …”

The “expertise” includes representatives from SPAN, or Special Programming for Achievement Network, which helps juvenile delinquents stay out of the criminal justice system, The Bridge, a nonprofit organization that provides substance abuse treatment and rehab programs for adolescents and the Selma City School Board working in collaboration.

“We don’t have all the details yet, but what we’re trying to propose to the board … is that we can work together,” Armstrong said addressing the board. “We’d be willing to work with you guys so we could have something really first class and outstanding for the kids in our community that need it. The No. 1 indicator for juvenile delinquency is poor performance in school. We could really do something that could address that in an effective way.”

Armstrong said the program would be ideal for juveniles and help them get back on track. School board members, Armstrong said, could also decide what educational components would best fit the school.

“We can bring our resources to the table … we have two different funding sources,” Armstrong said. “We can come up with a really dynamite program that would not be a dumping ground for kids, but it would really give them a great opportunity to catch up in school, turn around and be rehabilitated; we’ll save more of our kids and I just see it as a win-win-win for everybody …”

Armstrong said the school could be open by August.

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