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Hastings Alternative School Program (HASP) Creates a Home Away from Home for Students


xxxThe Hastings Alternative School Program (HASP), whose mission is to promote a sense of family for students, began in 1985 with 17 juniors and now includes all grade levels at Hastings High School. 


With an emphasis on learning and success, HASP uses small classes, regular community meetings, and a student-run court modeled after restorative justice programs to challenge students to realize their highest potential. Over the years, it has helped meet the needs of over 500 students. 


According to HASP Director and Hastings High School English Teacher Peter Scotch, every child is provided with a foundation of engagement, commitment, and an enriched education through HASP. 


“It’s a unique opportunity for kids to be supported emotionally and intellectually,” Scotch said.


HASP's key practices include:

  • Academics: Because of the intimate learning environment, there are never more than ten students in a HASP class. Classes are built around skills and interests that are tailored to the students in the class. The goal is to ensure everyone is college and career ready, but the small groups allow opportunities for creative instruction that wouldn't be possible in larger classes.
  • Cooperative Learning: HASP puts forth this successful learning method to promote both a sense of cooperation and trust.
  • Communication Skills: HASP prides itself on face-to-face communication. It promotes dialogue with parents, students, and staff on an ongoing basis.
  • Social Emotional Learning: HASP promotes a nurturing environment which deals with the whole individual.
  • Counseling: HASP counsels students via the guidance counselors, social worker, and school psychologist. In addition, students work with a variety of adult mentors.
  • Life Skills: HASP engages students in a Life Skills curriculum to prepare students for post high school planning and life-long learning.
  • Bi-Monthly Community Meetings: HASP students and staff meet bi-monthly to discuss different issues, concerns and school happenings.
  • Peer Review: Modeled after restorative justice programs, the HASP Peer Review component provides students with an opportunity to support each other as they negotiate and are held accountable for the expectations and responsibilities of the traditional school environment.
  • Field Trips: HASP journeys on different trips, four to five times per year to enhance our academic/social environment. This December, students will be going to see Broadway's 'Kimberly Akimbo.'


“It’s not just about academics," said Scotch. "We also just want to make sure each child knows that they are on our radar. If they’re having trouble with their peers or in class, we do our best to address those issues by providing them with options and teaching them the skills they need to move forward.”


For more information about HASP and the application process, click here.


For additional questions about HASP, reach out to Peter Scotch at