Pictured (from left) are Melanie Allen, MIWAYE principal; Jason Gardner, MGSD superintendent; Jakariah Miller, former MIWAYE student; N.C. Rep. John Torbett; Tim Anselmo, MIWAYE teacher; and Michael Royal, MGSD assistant superintendent for secondary instruction.

Special to Iredell Free News

Mooresville Graded School District Superintendent Gardner gave a presentation about the district’s MIWAYE program to to the N.C. House Select Committee on Monday, August 29.

MGSD was invited to present by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction due to the successful outcomes consistently realized by the program.

Assisting Superintendent Gardner with the presentation were Michael Royal, assistant superintendent of secondary instruction; Melanie Allen, MIWAYE principal; Tim Anselmo, MIWAYE teacher; and Jakariah Miller, a former student in the program.

“Our motto in MGSD is every child, every day, and I believe our MIWAYE program is a vital element to living out that motto,” Gardner explained. “MIWAYE is truly a model for how alternative education can be individualized to best support our students so they are prepared to leave our district and be successful in whatever future pathway they choose.”

MIWAYE, an acronym for Meshing Initiatives With Alternative Youth Education, was established in 1996 as a response to the increasing number of students identified as at risk from not graduating from high school.

These students need extra support and often benefit from a more non-traditional school setting as a result of academic, social, emotional, behavioral, and/or adjustment issues. The program assesses each student and implements a holistic individualized plan for students that addresses a variety of learning styles and individual needs.

Each classroom provides a smaller teacher to student ratio than traditional high school classrooms to aid in the implementation of each student’s plan. The program also collaborates with families to identify and establish healthy alternatives to problem behaviors and practices in order for the student to return to a traditional setting full time if applicable.

In addition to academic goals that include access to credit recovery and self-paced curricula, the program strives to implement practices that assist students in the development of a positive self-concept and respectful relationships with others. Personal responsibility, accountability, and sound decision-making are also reinforced.

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