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Ferndale LGBT center launches alternative high school

An empty classroom
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
O.k., o.k., we know this one is empty, but some high school students in the Detroit Public Schools say their classroom are far from empty.

Affirmations, an LGBT community center in Ferndale, has launched an alternative high school program with the Michigan Educational Partnership.

The program is geared toward students who have dropped out or are having a hard time in school, often due to harassment or bullying that is common for LGBT students.

Denis Dunlap with the Michigan Educational Partnership says there are a variety of reasons students are attracted to the alternative high school program. The program uses what Dunlap calls a "blended model" of online and face-to-face instruction, using Affirmations as a drop-in center.

"This is a new kind of look at how we can help kids finish their high school diploma and move on to the next part of their life," Dunlap said.

The program is also available for adults who want to go back to school to get their GED. Diplomas are granted through Ithaca Public Schools.

Dunlap says the curriculum is purposefully more technology driven than a typical classroom experience.

"The focus is on learning, not instruction. We can use the curriculum to build a learning path that's unique to the student's needs," he said. "We're looking for those populations that aren't currently in school, kids who are nowhere. We want to get them on a path to somewhere."

-Sarah Kerson, Michigan Radio Newsroom