Madison Magazine: As a freshman at East High School, Ivan Lozada found the traditional learning environment challenging. He simply couldn’t concentrate. Plus, he says “certain classes catered to certain kids,” which he felt did not include him. His parents noticed a change in him too—something he describes as “going into a dark place.” Yet one teacher recognized Lozada’s work ethic and recommended him for the Alternative Education Resource Options program through the district’s Innovative and Alternative Education program. He checked it out and enrolled, and eventually landed an office job at Goodman Community Center, one of Innovative and Alternative Education’s fifty program partners.
Although that job wasn’t the right fit for him, Lozada returned to East High School and eventually found something that suited his interests through the school’s Work and Learn program. As a junior, he landed an apprenticeship with Smart Motors, another IAE partner. He graduated this January and is attending Madison College’s auto technician program. Last semester he went to school daily, worked every day for credit, attended night school once a week and helped out at the family’s bakery. While traditional schooling was not his thing, hard work was.
Work and Learn is one of six core programs offered through IAE at eight different sites throughout Madison. The IAE has 364 students across all programs, but historically that number grows in the second semester and can hit five hundred.