The Alternative Educator’s Handbook, by Dr. Paul J. Pattavina, is a comprehensive, practical collection of strategies and researched practices to be implemented with students who present social, emotional and behavioral challenges in school. It is a handbook intended to serve as a practical resource for teachers and staff who work with students whose progress in school is interrupted by social and emotional issues – kids who tend to, either intentionally or unintentionally, ‘pluck your last nerve’. It reviews student characteristics and intervention procedures, as well as specific forms and procedures created or adapted over time and experience. The ideas in this book will serve as a guide for educators and mental health professionals who are responsible for these kinds of difficult students, in whatever educational setting they might be placed - alternative schools or programs, private clinical or therapeutic schools, intensive behavior support classrooms or flexible resource room classrooms in public schools. This is a book that should be read by special and regular education teachers, school social workers, counselors, clinicians and school psychologists; paraprofessionals and child care workers; principals and assistant principals; school superintendents and board of education members; juvenile probation officers; parents and concerned community members; and college instructors who train special education teachers.
The need for effective, alternative programs for students with challenging emotional and behavior patterns continues to be a pressing issue for public schools nationwide. The concern has been exacerbated in the past several years by continued school shootings and violence, creating a grave sense of fear among students, parents and staff, by the actions of kids with guns and other weapons in school. Legislators and public officials have been called to take actions that will keep kids safer in school, focusing particularly on gun control, limiting access and adding guards. And although such measures will be essential towards preventing some school violence, the kinds of programming and resources available for our public schools must also be closely examined. In effect, schools will need to find ways to identify and provide programming options for students who may be disgruntled, alienated, unconnected, impulsive, and who may be looking to be recognized, seek revenge or put an end to bullying, perceived harassment, injustice or a life of ignominy--kids who feel they have nothing left to lose.
Dr. Pattavina holds a Ph.D. in special education for students with emotional disturbance. He has over 40 years of experience as a special education teacher, school administrator, researcher, college instructor and consultant to public and private schools on programs for difficult students.