610-987-2248   |   info@berksiu.org

Alternative Education

Alternative Education Classrooms in Berks County

The Berks County Intermediate Unit, through the Office of Early Childhood & Student Services, operates alternative education programs at various sites throughout Berks County. Skilled teams of teachers and classroom specialists work closely to ensure students receive education in a supportive environment.

Ultimately, our goal is to prepare students for a successful return to a traditional school or for the completion of their formal secondary education.

Alternative education provides programming for students who have been unsuccessful in their home school district due to behavior problems or anti-social behavior; who have been charged with/convicted of a crime; who are  awaiting an immigration hearing; and/or who have been removed from their homes by order of the court and are awaiting placement.

BCIU Learning Academy at Thomas Ford

The BCIU Learning Academy at Thomas Ford is an AEDY (Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth) program designed to provide an educationally conducive instructional environment for eligible students from the RSD (Reading School District) only.

The program is designed so that students from RSD in grades 6 through 12 are able to continue their educational progress in an alternative education setting with the least amount of disruption and distraction with a goal of being promoted to the next grade level at a proficient level and/or graduation. The program is also designed to ensure the safety of all students and staff as well as the maintenance of an orderly and educationally productive environment.

The BCIU Learning Academy at Thomas Ford is located at 901 Margaret Street, Reading, PA 19611.

For more information please contact Jesse Bishop, at jesbis@berksiu.org or 610-987-8970.

Education Program at Berks County Jail

The BCIU provides instructional services to youth who have been charged with, and/or convicted of, an adult crime. They receive academic diagnostics and remedial education, allowing them to work toward a high school diploma or general education diploma.

For more information on the Berks County Jail System, visit their website at https://countyofberks.com/departments/jail-system

Tower Behavioral Health

BCIU and Tower Behavioral Health joined to develop a collaborative program for students in inpatient hospitalization for mental health treatment. The Tower Behavioral Health Program is a licensed hospitalization program serving students through crisis, emergency hospitalization, parent referrals, community agency referrals, and school district recommendation. Students receive counseling services provided by Tower Health staff. Educational services and social skills instruction are provided by an IU teacher. There is coordination with the students’ hospitalization treatment team and resident school district to provide a continuum of academic support with efforts focused on maintaining students’ progress in their home district’s curriculum. This program has been in existence since February 2021. The educational component is funded by the resident school districts of the students.

The Educational Program is an Alternative/Special Education Program facilitated by Berks County Intermediate Unit and contracted through Schuylkill Valley School District (District of Residence for Tower Behavioral Health) to provide educational services to students in care.  These students are referred to by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as “1306 Students” or Students receiving educational services in a residential facility.  As such, the Education Program must adhere to the Policies and Procedures of Tower Behavioral Health, Schuylkill Valley School District, and Berks County Intermediate Unit. 

Tower Behavioral Health is a 124-bed in-patient mental health treatment facility located at 201 Wellness Way, Reading PA 19605.  The Hospital has 6 specialized units that provide mental health treatment to adolescent and adult patients in an in-patient hospital setting. All Students, ages 14-17 regardless of the Unit, receive educational programming.  Individuals aged 18-21 who are still in High School or have Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s) also receive Educational Programming.

For more information please contact Jessica Head, at jeshea@berksiu.org or 610-987-8490.

Program Contact Info

Dr. Sara George

Social Info

We are using cookies to give you the best experience. You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in privacy settings.
AcceptPrivacy Settings


  • Google Analytics

Google Analytics

This website uses Google Analytics to collect anonymous information, including the number of visitors and most popular pages.

Keeping this cookie enabled helps us to continually improve our site.