Overview Alternative Education

Northtowns Academy is an alternative setting that provides students new beginnings and second chances.  Northtowns Academy focuses on the whole student: allowing every opportunity to achieve goals, ensuring a brighter future, and building productive members of society. 

Each program provides teachers, certified in a core content area, who have experience working with an at-risk population.  

  • Alternative High School (Grades 9-12)  
  • Teen Parenting
  • Out of School Suspension Program (Grades 7-12)
  • Opportunities for Career and Technical Education

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Donated Guitar Strikes a Chord with Teen

Photo of Joe Laud with donated GuitarTenth-grade student Joe Laud recently shared a piece of his original musical composition with his class at Erie 1 BOCES Northtowns Academy. Joe played an acoustic guitar donated to the school by Music is Art Foundation.

Joe, who is enrolled in the media communications class at Northtowns Academy, is a self-taught musician who plays guitar, drums, ukulele, bass and saxophone.

“The donation enabled us to add a live music component to our recording lesson,” said Jacqueline Albarella, media communications teacher at Northtowns Academy. “The guitar, along with several other instruments, provides our students the opportunity to practice their live-music recording skills.”

Joe’s original composition was part of the class’ unit on audio recording, where the media communications students study various microphones used in professional recording studios. The next step will be for the students to establish a recording studio in their own classroom, which will entail setting up the microphones, cables and sound engineering equipment.

“We are fortunate to have industry standard microphones, headsets, mixers, computer software and the necessary miscellaneous gear,” said Albarella.

Like Joe, all students will use their talents to create music using a variety of instrumentation. “The teens are engaged in the entire recording process. In addition to the performance itself, they will record and edit the sound, and then burn it to a CD that will be placed in a CD cover they designed,” said Albarella.

Students will be encouraged to upload their work to their personal media sites and personal portfolios.