Columbia Public Schools Makes ACE Program a Requirement

COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools officials said Monday the district is making its suspension center a requirement for students who are suspended.  This applies to students in all grade levels throughout the district.  

The center, which is housed in the Boys and Girls Club building in Columbia, was originally just an option when a student was suspended. Students could also choose at-home suspension.  The school district made the change because administrators wanted to cut down on suspensions turning into "vacations" for students.

"Our goal is to keep that education as fluid, as consistent as possible," Carla London, supervisor of student and family advocacy for Columbia Public Schools said.  "So that when children do return to their home schools, they can just pick up right where they left off."

CPS runs the Alternative Continuing Education or ACE program at its suspension center.  The district employs two full-time staff members there and administrators are excited about what this decision will do for education in Columbia.

"Students who are suspended, hanging out at home, doing nothing, that's not valuable for their education," London said.  "They are losing valuable education time, and so the Alternative Continuing Education program, the ACE program, is an option that allows students to continue getting their educational needs met if they are in a situation that requires them to be out of their home school setting."

The district has not completely done away with out-of-school suspension, but London said the district hopes to see it end in the future.

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