Each Monday at YES Prep Thrive, the state’s only disciplinary alternative education program operated by a charter school, a couple dozen children gather in a circle inside a windowless, fluorescent-lit classroom, celebrating graduates returning to their home campuses.

One by one, each student offers words of encouragement. Most deliver a quick “good luck,” slouched in their plastic blue seats. Some giggle for a moment before uttering a few platitudes. Following staffers’ leads, several students describe favorite traits of their new friends — curiosity, dedication, a sharp sense of humor.

“Don’t do what you did again,” one student told Eric, a popular graduate with a wide smile, on a recent Monday morning. “Take this as a chance to move forward.”

Before YES Prep Public Schools opened Thrive

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