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For students in grades 9 –12 who are failing to thrive in the traditional high school setting, the Mahopac Academy provides an alternative environment that helps them engage in the learning experience and develop healthy social and emotional skills. The Academy is designed for students of all learning styles and abilities, both general education and special education, with the goal of achieving a high school diploma and being prepared for college or career. After voluntarily entering the program, each student participates in the construction of a unique plan for completing course requirements and credits in compliance with the Mahopac Central School District and New York State standards.
Mahopac Academy Referral Process:
A student must meet with their school counselor and be referred to the Academy through their house, after which a visit and meeting with parents and Academy teachers will be set up. Eligible students will then proceed with Academy enrollment by completing an application. After the application is accepted, a two day trial in the Academy will take place.
Located in a wing of Mahopac High School, the Mahopac Academy is designed to accommodate up to 60 students. It has four classrooms and a sunny common room with kitchen facilities. Academy students follow the Mahopac High School schedule, starting their day with attendance. Students can take all or some of their core classes in the Academy. In the case of several electives courses, such as art, classes are taught in HS classrooms designed for Academy students. Flexibility is an integral part of the Academy and students may take some elective courses in the high school. Schedules are designed to work for the student: those students who have trouble getting up in the morning are accommodated with a start later in the day. Many students take advantage of career and technical programs at Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES and Academy academic classes can be scheduled around their career and technical program. Academy students attend physical education classes with Mahopac High School students and may participate in all extra-curricular activities including music ensembles, clubs and athletics.
The Academy has four subject-area teachers for science, math, English and social studies; two special education teachers; and a clinician. The interdisciplinary team of teachers at the Academy works with students, parents and other members of the school community to provide individualized, innovative and engaging learning experiences. Academy faculty act as advocates for the success of all students in an environment that is rigorous, yet forgiving; where mistakes are viewed as opportunities and every day is a new beginning.
Expectations for students in the Academy are the same for all students attending Mahopac High School: to graduate high school with a diploma and to be well prepared for a post-high school college experience or career. The Academy requires the same number of courses and credits as the larger high school for graduation. This allows students to work towards returning to classes in Mahopac High School. The Academy also supports students who are credit deficient, but who are willing to work for a high school diploma. Offering a variety of ways to help students make up credits with personalized attention and fine-tuning of their schedule enables them to accumulate the credits they need for graduation. The Academy teachers utilize Chromebooks and Google Classroom so that students who are out can easily access their work and keep up.
Alongside their academic studies, students learn social and emotional strategies and social intelligence skills to competently navigate their high school years and beyond. The Academy utilizes the STEPS-A program, Skills Training for Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents, which has four components: mindfulness, (learning how to focus on the task at hand), distress tolerance, emotional regulation and inter-personal effectiveness. Students who participated in Mahopac’s alternative high school have gone on to pursue a variety of careers and some attend two- and four-year colleges, including SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Purchase, Concordia, Manhattanville, Mercy College, Western Connecticut State University and Dutchess and Westchester Community colleges.
Mahopac High School Academy parents provide critical support for the health and wellness of our students. They regularly and openly communicate with their student and program faculty to establish and maintain consistent social, emotional and academic expectations. They also play an important role in devising and supporting their child’s individualized academic plan.