Huntsville City Schools to end alternative school program directed by Pinnacle

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.-Huntsville City Schools is discontinuing an alternative school program provided by the Pinnacle Schools.  As of Monday, October 10, the school system will end the program known as the Assignment for Positive Progress (APP) Program.  Interim superintendent Tom Drake is directing for this program to continue in-house.

In a written statement, Drake said, “I have tasked the staff to take the better aspects of this program, particularly looking at increasing access to school-based counseling and behavioral support staff for these students.”

According to the district, the APP program started as a transitional program for students with significant attendance, academic, and behavioral needs.

During a September 15 meeting, the school board tabled a discussion about payment to Pinnacle Schools for the program.    That meeting happened hours after the resignation of Dr. Casey Wardynski as superintendent.  The timing of Wardynski’s resignation raised questions about his upcoming wedding to Pinnacle’s CEO, Karen Lee.  In an earlier interview, Wardynski told WHNT News 19 he realized his relationship with Lee could be an issue if he were superintendent, but stressed that it was time for him to move on.

Pinnacle Schools has contracted with the Huntsville system to provide alternative school services since 2012.  The services were expanded in the spring with the APP program.

In a written statement, Huntsville City School Board President Laurie McCaulley said, “We remain dedicated to ensuring that students receive supports and interventions that help them succeed inside (and outside) the classroom. We believe that the Interim Superintendent’s plan will accomplish that end, and we look forward to seeing fruitful results for our students from his team’s efforts.”