MOUNT CARMEL - The Brush Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Compass Academy, 30 W. Third St., celebrated the academy's three years of success in the community with an open house and ribbon cutting Thursday.

The academy is a part of Justice Works Youth Care, which has services in 26 counties in Pennsylvania as well as several other states.

Compass Academy is an approved provider for Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth (AEDY) by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. It provides alternative education programming that is designed to reduce drop-out rates, increase school attendance and develop skills that enhance academic performance and increase graduation rates, according to their website.

The academy is contracted with eight area school districts including Shamokin Area, Mount Carmel Area, Line Mountain, North Schuylkill, Mahanoy Area, Southern Columbia and Shikellamy.

Students who attend the academy are referred there from their home school district, which also funds the student's attendance there.

They also work closely with the families of the students.

"Our students may have problems with behavior, truancy, academic issues, being expelled or suspended and overall just not doing well in a traditional public school setting," said Marc Silvetti, Program Director at Compass Academy.

The academy currently has 25 students, but can accommodate between 35 and 40. It has a staff of six teachers, according to Silvetti. The amount of time a student spends there varies from a few marking periods to a year.

Students at the academy attend basic academic classes, including math, English, science, physical education and social studies.

They also learn to address the issues that have caused them trouble in mainstream schools.

"Behavior modification is our first priority to get them to deal more appropriately with issues that come up in a public school setting," Silvetti said.

Along those lines, the academy has a "WhyTry: Resilience Education" life skills class that deal with such issues as peer pressure, defense mechanisms and labeling.

The students also help in the community by doing volunteer work in local Mount Carmel businesses, such as Scicchitano Ace Hardware and Hollywood Pizza.

"The local businesses have been good at accepting volunteer work from our students," Silvetti said. "They have really embraced us."