United ISD Introduces the U-First Program
The U-First program gives a new approach to educating students placed at Step Academy. Earlier today at the press conference we had a chance to speak with a parent who is excited about this new program because it focuses on helping students get back on the right track.
"There's a number of parents that have voiced their concerns about there not being anything in between school and Step Academy."
So United ISD decided to do something about the concerns they had received. They came up with the U-First program. It gives a new approach to educating students placed at Step Academy. It stands for united families intervene and redirect students together.
"This gives an opportunity to redeem themselves, to learn from mistakes and hopefully learn as much as possible so they won't make the same mistakes twice."
He felt this was an important program and that's why he says he's backing it. To qualify, it needs to be a student's first violation.
"If it's a first time that they violate the code of conduct, they get a chance to do community service on Saturdays, and conflict resolution meetings."
Also there are parent shadowing programs and anger management classes so they can get back to their regular school as soon as possible. The woman who had a hand in putting this new program in place says United ISD in the only school district in Texas with a program like U-First.
"I do think that other school districts will follow."
Annette Perez is the director of student relations and discipline management and says the program differs by the partnership they encourage between parents and students.
"Parents and children work together to overcome obstacles or barriers to build trust issues as well as being able to open up communication."
This is the pilot program but the director of student relations said they felt UISD needed something different because it's easy to get comfortable in current disciplinary practices .