Opportunity School

An opportunity school is an alternative to regular schools. Students who may be applicable to attend opportunity schools are students who have unique situations that may hinder their abilities in an average schooling environment. This may include: students who cannot work well in large groups such as an average classroom, students who have difficulty paying attention to their teachers and/or their school work, students who have been suspended or expelled from their home school and need to make up their credits, pregnant students, students with physical or mental health problems, students who don't feel comfortable among certain teachers or classmates, students who cannot afford the cost of attending a regular school, and other unique situations.

A common misconception is that opportunity schools are only available for "troubled youths". While this may be true in some cases, an opportunity school is not made for the sole purpose of being a holding place for "troubled youths". An opportunity school is an available option for students with various unique situations who may otherwise fail to succeed in a regular school environment. On the other hand, opportunity schools are, quite contrary to their name, often a place of little or no opportunity, with dumbed down classes, prohibitions on extracurricular activities, prohibitions on socializing even outside of class, and often a schedule with no time between classes and a rule forbidding being on campus before or after classes. They are often used as a punishment or a dumping ground for students the system does not want to deal with in any sort of reasonable or constructive way, such as zero-tolerance policy violators.

In the early 1970s Allentown School District, Allentown, PA began one of the earliest gifted programs in the area. It was also called Opportunity School. Students in the program were selected through teacher recommendations and a required minimum score on a standardized IQ test. In 1972, the program was exclusively for students in grades 4 and 5 only. Students were given Spanish instruction and oddly enough, typing instruction. Classroom activities were creative and did not follow the same curriculum the other classrooms of the same grades did. Students were selected from each elementary school in the school district and bused to a central location, Mosser Elementary School.

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