Volume 2023 | October

Focus on NAEA:

Newsletter Editor: Students of Archer Learning Center

A Message From Your Future NAEA President

I hope all of you are off to a great start this year. I know this is a busy time of the year but I just wanted to share with everyone my vision for the future of the NAEA as I assume the position of the NAEA President.  

The NAEA continues to grow leaps and bounds and at times the growth has outpaced our expectations. With this said, one of my goals is to ensure that the organization is on sound footing with regards to how it operates which includes our policies and procedures and our financial stability. While doing this, I want to make sure the NAEA is focused on our Mission and Vision and that we are supporting our members with valuable resources and professional development so you can support the students you serve every day to the best of your ability.  

I also want to move the organization forward as a leader with regards to educational best strategies and approaches for all educators to look at and utilize. Often mainstream education is looking for solutions to challenges they face on a daily basis but fail to realize that the solution most likely already exists with the alternative educational or nontraditional setting. Over time it is my goal that the NAEA is the organization that others look as a leader in the professional education association field.  

In closing, I hope many of you are able to join us in Tampa in October for the National Conference. I look forward to seeing you and truly would like to meet each and every one of you if possible. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, concerns, and/or ideas with regards to the NAEA. Take care and have a wonderful school year!

Take care,

Tim Morrow



Check out this message about the history of the NAEA and the direction we are moving.

Looking Back As We Look To Move Forward


AZ Alternative Education Consortium Honors

Dr. Amy Schlessman

The Arizona Alternative Education Consortium (AZ AEC) recently recognized Dr. Amy Schlessman for her years of service leading the association.  Dr. Schlessman has led the AZ AEC as its founding president, a board member, and again as president.  “We, the alternative education campus leaders, have come together in a unified voice among public schools, be they accommodation districts (county run schools), charters, or districts, to give voice to under-represented, and often disenfranchised, students.”  Through AZ AEC unrelenting work with the Governor’s office, the Arizona State Board of Education, the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, state legislators, the Arizona Department of Education, and other policy makers, alternative education has become part of the state’s educational landscape.

Congratulations to Karen Hertel, Fairfax County Public Schools (VA)

Outstanding School-Based Leader: Bryant High School Leading By Example: Trust, Transparency, Humility, and Accountability

Congratulations to Assistant Principal Karen Hertel on her recognition as the Fairfax County Public School’s 2023 Outstanding School-Based Leader at this year's FCPS Honors event, held at George Mason University Center for the Arts on June 14, 2023.

Ms. Hertel currently provides administrative oversight of Bryant High School. This is a fully accredited alternative high school that serves students in grades 9 – 12. Students apply to attend Bryant High School from 14 neighboring high schools in Fairfax County Public Schools (Virginia). Bryant provides a challenging and accepting learning environment designed to provide the necessary support for students to grow personally, academically, and professionally. 

Karen's leadership philosophy is deeply anchored in trust, transparency, humility, and accountability, forming an unwavering foundation for instructional excellence. She actively collaborates with the community and business partners and procures vital resources for Bryant High School students and their families. Under her guidance, the resource room was transformed, empowering student service leaders to prepare essential "to-go" bags and kits for families in need. Her approach to leadership is centered around the school's core beliefs, which include family, excellence, and relationships. As a passionate, collaborative, and communicative leader, Karen cultivates an enriching learning environment where staff and students thrive. She perceives each interaction with students as a chance to fortify relationships, deliberate on aspirations, and develop skills crucial for post-secondary success.

School Spotlights

Students, Families, Community Members Connect at ThrivePoint Back to School Nights

Back to School Nights at the ThrivePoint High Schools in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun was a resounding success. Over 300 students district-wide at ThrivePoint alternative high schools seized this opportunity to plan their futures. Representatives from local colleges and universities illuminated scholarship paths. Industry professionals showcased potential career opportunities and internships. Trade schools also played a pivotal role, offering invaluable insights into specialized programs. The event unequivocally bridged the gap between education and real-world possibilities.

Mini-Lessons Engage Alternative Education Students

At ThrivePoint, mini-lessons have proven to be a transformative approach to student engagement and foundational skill development. By allowing students and their Student Success Coaches to pivot away from purely online platforms, we've deepened student understanding of Math and English, and develop their Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Mini-lessons are instrumental in empowering students to actively discuss, prepare for, and hone skills vital for their post-graduation aspirations. The results are not just academic: they're lifelong.


Mary Logan High School

A visit with Mary Logan High School - a Truants’ Alternative and Optional Education Program (TAOEP) with over 92% attendance, 95% graduation rate, and students earning dual credit.

The drive to Mary Logan High School, located on the campus of John A. Logan Jr. College started with an extraordinary sunrise.

When you enter the campus of John A. Logan Jr. College in Carterville, IL you will see buildings nestled between open green space, majestic trees, and the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.   It is gorgeous!

Mary Logan High School at John A. Logan College provides educational opportunities for students in grades 9-12, who have not found success in the traditional school setting.  Mary Logan provides full-time learning and/or credit recovery opportunities to youth with academic challenges associated with attendance issues.

The Mary Logan High School has been housed on the John A. Logan Jr. College campus for over forty years. Students from eleven different high schools drive to the program. 

The parking lot is busy with adult college students of all ages moving throughout the campus.  However, when you enter building H and walk down the Mary Logan High School hallway, you are welcomed “home” with a myriad of smiling faces. There is a sense of belonging felt as students and staff create a safe space for learning and healing.  The students and staff call their school a family, fun, comfortable, unique, calm, stress-free, and loving.  

Students are held to high attendance and educational standards, while taking dual credit courses throughout the College campus. The Mary Logan teachers are masterful at weaving engaging lessons and experiences into a number of direct instruction courses. The classrooms are bright and full of student work which hangs from the walls, white boards, and ceilings. 

Attendance is tracked with displays in every classroom and celebrated within the school community regularly.  Students and staff cheer as names are selected to celebrate attendance with everything from a school-sponsored lunch to a handshake of gratitude.

There is a bond between the students and staff that celebrates the best in each.  When staff talk about the students’ achievements and challenges, they do so with pride and tears.  When the students talk about their school home, they do so with gratitude and a powerful sense of connection. 

Whether canoeing in the Cache River, earning dual credit, celebrating attendance or learning from dedicated staff, Mary Logan High School is an inspiring space of learning, healing, and love.

Invictus High School

Ohio, Region 3

Invictus High School’s educational program focuses on providing all students an individualized education that builds their foundation for a lifetime of success. IHSS understands students have different needs, learn at different rates, and have diverse learning styles.

IHSS student-centered program allows students to reach their academic goals and graduate on time. IHSS strives to provide the personalized attention that each student needs in order to succeed both in the classroom and in their future career endeavors. IHSS provides students a safe and flexible learning environment in which students can work at their own pace with the assistance of teachers and support staff.

IHSS Academic Performance: This year marked the Ohio State return to measuring school performance through use of the state report card. The Ohio Department of Education determines the academic progress of Invictus High School and our students using the measures found below: On the Ohio State Report Card, the gap-closing component (or Annual Measurable Objectives) shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations for our most vulnerable populations of students in English language arts, math, and graduation. IHSS score on the Gap Closing component exceeded standards for the state's school rating system in 2020/2021.

IHSS graduation rate increased in nearly every category compared to the 2020/2021 academic year. The IHSS continues to meet standards for the state's school rating system. On the State Report Card, the achievement component (formerly the High School Test Passage Rate component) shows how well schools prepare students for meeting requisite criteria on assessments that are required for graduation. IHSS score on the achievement component exceeded standards for the state's school rating system in 2020/2021. On the Ohio State Report Card, the progress component shows student growth throughout the year, as measured by our students' STAR assessment scores in both reading and mathematics. IHSS continued to meet standards for the state's school rating system in 2020/2021.

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Graduation Highlights

If you have a school, educator, leader or district you would like to recognize on a National level, submit their information below! We want to publicly recognize the hard work of our alternative educator community!

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2023 Conference Corner

Pre Conference Activity Open: Visit the Florida Aquarium CLICK HERE