Welcome to the Union Alternative School!
The Union Alternative Education Program was created to better meet the needs of Union students who have been unsuccessful in the regular education program. Students from ninth through 12th grades are enrolled in the program housed at 5656 S. 129 E. Ave.
The Alternative School is not a punishment program. Instead, is is intended to lead students toward success in the mainstream of education through the use of innovative teaching techniques, greater access to counseling services, more individualized course study, flexible scheduling, lower student/teacher ratios (15:1 or less), and a more supportive classroom atmosphere.
Union Alternative School
5656 S. 129th E. Ave.
Office Hours: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
High School Hours: Monday-Thursday: 8:20 a.m. - 3:35 p.m. / Friday: 8:45 a.m. - 3:55 p.m.
Principal Richard Storm
Resources - Apply to Enroll
The Union Alternative School started in 1995-96 with three teachers and 45 students as a school-within-the-school program at Union Intermediate High School. A high need for services caused the school to be expanded to four teachers and 60 students for the second semester of that year. In 1997, a separate facility was built to house the program, which expanded to serve 112 students with 7 teachers, a full-time principal, and a full-time counselor. More than 1,000 students have graduated from the program since it began.
For the 2012-13 school year, Union Alternative School had 100 graduates. All of these graduates met ACE requirements for graduation, except for two who came to Alt Ed in December as seniors with no passing EOI scores. Of these two students, one had now passed three EOI’s before summer started, and the other has passed two. Union Alternative School pledge to work with the students until they were ACE compliant.
In fact, Union Alternative School’s success rate was better than many public schools thanks to teaching and office staff and counselors who work so diligently to give students the ability to rise above the obstacles in their lives and go into the world prepared to be successful adults.
The program has consistently been designated as an exemplary alternative education program by the Oklahoma Technical Assistance Center. It has received awards from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and from the National Dropout Prevention Network. It has received recognition from the United States Department of Education; it has hosted groups of educators from all over the nation and from England and Taiwan when they have wanted to learn about effective practices in alternative education, and it has been cited as a national model of effective alternative education by educational writers of national renown such as Franklin Schargel, Tony Thacker and Robert Barr.
Goals - Learn more
The goals of the programs include:
Teachers are all highly experienced alternative educators who truly care about the students and always remain accessible for them. They are flexible and open-minded and recognize each student’s abilities. Everyone in the program works together to maintain a friendly, constructive atmosphere based on mutual respect. Courses are offered in language arts, math, social studies, science, life skills, and other electives. All teachers are fully certified.
Application Information - Application
Application forms may be acquired from a counselor at any of Union’s secondary schools or at the Alternative school site office. The intake process for the program is intended to be both thorough and simple. Because a maximum of 112 students can be enrolled for the high school program and 90 students for the middle school program, it is important that the students admitted are truly in need of the services and are likely to benefit from the programs.
Applicants may be referred by a school professional, a parent/guardian, or by themselves. Once the application is received, the student’s academic records are reviewed, and interviews are conducted. The student, his or her parents or guardians, school personnel, and other sources are interviewed. The results of these interviews are discussed among the program’s staff. Those students deemed most appropriate for the program are enrolled, while others remain on the waiting list.
Before students are accepted into the program, they must be willing to sign a contract which states their willingness to comply with the school’s rules and to be successful in the program. Students who fail to comply with this contract may be involuntarily returned to regular education classes or sent to the Intervention Program.
Block scheduling is a major component of the alternative program. All high school students attend a single class for four class periods daily in a four-week period. At the end of this four-week session, students earn ½ credit. Then, the students rotate to another class for the next four-week period. This type of scheduling encourages teaching creativity, provides greater flexibility, allows greater opportunity for individualization of assignments, and fosters the creation of a more supportive classroom atmosphere for students.
Mondays through Thursdays
8:20 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. Block classes
8:45 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. Block classes
Students have several elective options for the two class periods of the day. These include:
Students may also choose to attend an abbreviated school day. Some students make up credits by attending a full six-hour school day and then participating in the work/study program after school. Alternative education students may also attend night school or summer school classes. Elective classes including life skills are also offered at the Alternative site.
Parents are encouraged, but not required, to play an active role in the students’ education. Teachers attempt to telephone parents regularly to discuss successes as well as problems. Input from parents is always encouraged. Parenting information and classes are provided by the Alternative program staff.
Counseling plays an important role in the alternative program, and all students are expected to participate actively in a broad range of counseling opportunities.
Richard Storm is a native Oklahoman who graduated from Collinsville High School in 1967. Following a four-year enlistment in the U.S. Air Force, during which he achieved the rank of sergeant, he attended Northeastern State University on the GI Bill and received his Bachelor of Arts in Education in 1974.
Storm then began a 23-year long career as an English and journalism teacher at Caruthersville (Mo.) High School and Cleveland (Okla.) High School before joining the staff at Union Middle School, where he taught from 1977 to 1991. During this time, he earned a Master of Education degree and school administration certificate from NSU. Having developed an interest in alternative education, he then took a position as Academic Supervisor at Street School in Tulsa for four years before returning to Union to start the Union Alternative Program in 1995. He has served as the principal of Union Alternative School since that school was built in 1997. With his leadership, Union Alternative School won the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Alternative Education in 2003 and the Crystal Star Award from the National Dropout Prevention Network in 2005.
Storm was the recipient of the Class Act Teacher Award for Excellence in 1993, and he received the Janice Updike Walker Award from the Oklahoma Alternative Education Association in 2004 in recognition of his longtime achievement as a leader in the state’s alternative education movement.
Storm has two daughters, a granddaughter, and a grandson who graduated from Union High School, and he is the stepfather of five. His greatest pleasures in life are spending time with his wife and twenty-two grandchildren, and rooting for the New York Yankees. Two of his grandchildren, Kali Cartwright and Claire Kasbaum, currently attend Union Public Schools.
Amy McCready received her Bachelor's of Science degree from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska. She received her Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Sports Management from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., and her Administrative Certification from the University of Missouri in Kansas City.
Before coming to Union in 2006, McCready was at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kansas, for 13 years, where she taught math 9th thru 12th grades. She also worked as an Assistant Principal at Blue Valley Northwest from 2005-2006. McCready came to Union to serve as director over Union’s spirit programs and was named an assistant principal at Intermediate High School in 2009. She became assistant principal at the Union Alternative School in 2011.
Union Student Safety HelpLine
A safe and secure school environment is essential to the learning process. An important ingredient in achieving safe and secure schools remains alert eyes and ears. Safety is achieved when an atmosphere exists in which students are comfortable talking with adults about their concerns.
One such tool available for students is the Union Student Safety Help Line that is accessible twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week to anyone who wants to report a concern. The caller may leave a message so his or her call can be returned, or they may choose not to be contacted. You can also call COPES if this is a mental health emergency.
Union Student Safety HelpLine