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School Characteristics

The Department of Juvenile Justice requires schools serving incarcerated youth to have a 250-day school calendar. Ten of those days may be used for teacher training. The school year begins on the same day that other Okaloosa County Schools begin and after four nine-week grading periods students are provided twelve weeks of summer school. GCYA provides 300 minutes of instruction during a six period day. All high school students are enrolled in credit bearing courses. Since it is an alternative school and the majority of the students are below grade level on basic skills, a heavy emphasis is placed on Reading, English, Mathematics and vocational programs. GCYA offers a vocational program in masonry.

The average length of stay for the students is six to nine months. This creates a constant rotation of students. In addition, a majority of the students have a negative attitude about school and fail to realize the importance of learning. One of the major goals of the teaching staff is to improve the students' self-concepts and help them realize they can learn.

The school is a General Education Diploma (GED) testing site and youth who meet specific criteria may take the GED before they are released from the program. Students who plan on returning to high school may earn some of the their credits through performance-based programs. This school operates on a total Exception Student Education (ESE) inclusion model and the ESE students are taught by teachers who may not be certified in ESE.


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