This past spring there were a lot more students outside doing yard work thanks to a program in Dubuque, Iowa, at the Alternative Learning Center offered Physical Education credits to teens who did yard work for seniors or for the disabled. Alternative schools offer innovative and practical classes for teens who are at risk of dropping out of school altogether. Often times alternative schools will offer classes, schedules, or accommodations that can’t be found at other schools.
Some schools center around technology, some around vocational training. The Alternative Learning Center is located on the campus of the Alta Vista school and only offers courses for those in 11th and 12th grades. According to teacher Tim Hitzler who started the program at the school, the students can earn P.E. credits for helping people in the community. “The students come out and help them. Could be raking leaves, pulling weeds, cutting grass, cleaning gutters, just depends on what they need.”
The yard work program is only applicable during the last two weeks of the spring semester, presumably to offer the most useful help to those who cannot tend to their own lawns and bushes. There’s always a lot to do during the late spring/ early summer. Hitzler said the kids aren’t enthusiastic about the work at first, “But, once they get involved and start doing yard work they become more motivated…They really like giving back to the community and meeting the person.”
Other projects that have earned the kids credits are cleaning up a barge and a golf course. Have a look at the video below for more on this really interesting and inspiring program that helps both at-risk kids and seniors.