New Century Education and Juvenile Justice Detention Alternatives
New Century Education Foundation (Montclair, NJ) is a not-for-profit publisher of educational software that is research based and uniquely designed to diagnose and remediate students and adults with deep skill gaps in their education. In Alabama, New Century works with the Special Program for Achievement Network (SPAN) in Huntsville. SPAN provides academic, social, behavioral and transitional services, in collaboration with local community organizations, to adjudicated youth. The Network guides these juvenile offenders toward being productive, law abiding citizens. The alternative for these youth would be incarceration.
Adjudicated youth are given the opportunity by the Judge to attend SPAN as an alternative to detention. The average participant arrives at SPAN at 15 years of age and functions over four grade level equivalents below his enrollment level. SPAN delivers a combination of education, individual counseling, group counseling and family counseling, along with behavior modification programs in conjunction with community organizations. Buses pick up students at their home and return them in the afternoon. Frequently, students are given objectives by the Judge, including obtaining their GED within a specified period of time. Juveniles meeting these objectives are released, and often enter the military, the local workforce, or post secondary education.
The Huntsville program is one of 11 SPAN locations across the state, but is the only one that uses New Century software to remediate missing prerequisite academic skills and to prepare students for the GED. Each of the 11 SPAN programs is designed to handle 15-20 juveniles at a time. Statewide statistics report that in fiscal year 2011-2012, the Huntsville program recorded 26 students that passed the GED Examination, compared to 20 reported by the other 10 programs combined during the same period. Further, according to SPAN administrators, the New Century system at Huntsville diagnosed and served students functioning at lower academic levels than the alternative software intervention utilized in the other 10 programs. New Century also remediated students in half the time compared to the alternative software. The Huntsville Program therefore was able to serve more students and achieve GED goals faster.
The State Director of SPAN is Charles Foley (256) 852-1224, 104 Spacegate Drive, Huntsville, Alabama 35806