The Nov. 20 article addressing Clayton Academy and its attempt to extend the contract it has with the Pittsburgh Public Schools (“Alternative School Seeks Contract Extension With City”) quotes Kenneth Huston, an employee of the company that runs Clayton, as saying, “If they weren’t at Clayton Academy, where would those kids be?” The answer is right here at the Student Achievement Center, just as they have been since the 1970s.
Long before Clayton Academy, the school district was running its own alternative education center. The program started at Peabody High School in the 1970s and eventually moved to the Hill District under the name Letsche, where it continued to grow and evolve over the years. In 2004 it moved to Homewood and was renamed the Student Achievement Center.
We are now a full-service alternative education center housing multiple programs for grades 6-12, including programs for students with drug infractions and any special education students who violate the Student Code of Conduct that are not serviced by Clayton.
Before Clayton, the Student Achievement Center also serviced the students with excessively disruptive and defiant behavior that were not successful in other district schools. These students have always had somewhere to go. Our amazing staff was supporting and educating these students before Clayton, and we want to be the ones to support and educate them if Clayton is no longer in operation.
Our staff members have a passion for working with struggling students to help them get back on track. Our three-part motto, “Attend, Achieve, Adjust” perfectly states what our goals are for our students and we have great success in these areas. If Clayton closes, the district’s parents and community members do not need to worry. The Student Achievement Center will be waiting with open arms to welcome Clayton’s students back to us.
The writer is a teacher at the Student Achievement Center. The letter was signed by 14 other staff members of the center.