The vision of the DYS School District is for every student to experience a safe, structured, technologically enhanced learning environment, whereby teachers are proud and committed to promoting good character, citizenship, and life-long learning. Our vision is predicated on the idea that these experiences and beliefs contribute to a seamless transition into society and a better quality of life.
The mission of the DYS School District is entrenched in the belief that all student instruction should be individualized to meet the unique needs of each student. Moreover, each student will be equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities that will prepare them to function and make positive contributions in today’s rapidly changing society
The Alabama Department of Youth Services School District holds the following beliefs:
The Alabama Department of Youth Services (DYS) is the state agency charged with the responsibility for administering and regulating juvenile justice programs and services. The Executive Director, who reports to an eighteen-member board, administers the DYS. DYS operates institutional programs and community residential and non-residential programs. The DYS School District provides educational services to the youth attending DYS institutional programs and monitors the educational services of the students attending the DYS community residential and non-residential programs.
The Alabama Department of Youth Services was established in 1973 (Section 44-1-1, Code of Alabama) with the mandate to provide a comprehensive and coordinated program for the rehabilitation of delinquent youth throughout the State of Alabama. Prior to the establishment of the Department of Youth Services (DYS), the three institutions for delinquent youth functioned as separate and isolated entities. Act 106 (Section 16-39, Code of Alabama), the Alabama Exceptional Child Act," specifically refers to these separate entities by their former names: Alabama State Training School for Girls, Alabama Boys Industrial School at Mt. Meigs, and Alabama Boys Industrial School at Birmingham. With the creation of the school district in 1983, all educational programs within Youth Services were placed under the supervision of the district.
The Alabama Department of Youth Services School District serves students in all Department of Youth Services (DYS) institutional facilities. All instruction in DYS is individualized. Prescriptions are used in short-term programs. Long-term programs are individualized, either through an Educational Service Plan an Individualized Education Program (IEP) These individual plans are written in behavioral terms and based on a variety of factors: age, academic achievement, grade placement, related needs, and transitional goals. Along with their academic instruction, eligible students may participate in business and industry certified career and technical education programs that provide opportunities for students to earn workplace credentials.
For long term students in grades nine and above who are functioning academically at or near grade level, counselors to verify coursework needed to ensure that appropriate Carnegie units are earned toward graduation. Although DYS schools may graduate students who meet the ALSDE requirements, the local school sending school is encouraged to award the high school diploma. However, over the past two years, Youth Services has graduated a number of long-term students. For students who are 17 years or older with adequate basic skills and do not plan to return to high school, General Education Development (GED) is an option. Students who complete their formal education within DYS are encouraged to continue their education at a postsecondary institution and/or be appropriately prepared to enter the workforce with business and industry credentials upon release.
It is the philosophy of Youth Services to take the student where s/he functions academically and assist that student in mastering as many educational skills as possible while in DYS. For many students, DYS will be the last opportunity for formal education.
The educational programs provide students with improved academic, and career readiness skills to enable them to return to the community better prepared to be law-abiding citizens. Both state and federal funds are expended for this purpose.