Horace Logan, 18, was flunking out of high school. His poor attendance was reflected in his grades. Finally, his counselor recommended an alternative education program.

Logan said he adjusted immediately to the alternative program at Washington-Dix Street Academy. "Here, you know what you have to do. You know what you are here for," said Logan, who transferred from H.D. Woodson in Southeast. "There are no pressures to wear certain clothes."

He said at Woodson he skipped school when he didn't have "the right clothes" to wear. "I just couldn't deal with school," Logan said. "Here, I know my priorities . . . and if you slip up, Mr. Jackson gets on you."

Dennis L. Jackson, principal at Washington-Dix Street Academy, said he makes it clear to students before they enroll in the academy that if they are not prepared to apply themselves to learning, they should not apply.

The academy, housed in the Hamilton Junior High School Building on 6th Street and Brentwood Parkway in the Brentwood community in Northeast, is an alternative education program for drop-outs and potential drop-outs.

The academy was established in 1980 when two schools, the Washington Street Academy and the Dix Street Academy, both run by the Washington Urban League, lost their federal funding, forcing them to merge with the D.C. Public School system.

The academy was modeled after the first street academies that sprang up in New York in the 1960s. Academies began as small informal schools for drop-outs and alienated youth, set up in church basements and store fronts near busy streets.

Washington-Dix Street is not the only such establishment in the District, however. The D.C. Street Academy, formerly the Postal Street Academy operated by the U.S. Postal service, was established in 1968. In the mid-1970s the University of the District of Columbia took over the operation and renamed it the D.C. Street Academy. Last year the academy was phased into the D.C. Public School system. D.C. Street Academy offers a reading program, diploma program, and a GED program.

"We present an alternative program to meet the needs of our students. We are doing everything in our power to prevent them from dropping out," said Hazel Showell, director of Career and Adult Education in the D.C. Public School System.

Although academies have become larger and more structured, the academy philosophy remains: voluntary enrollment, small classes, individualized instruction.

High school students identified by counselors as drop-outs or potential drop-outs are recommended to the academy. However, the students decide whether they will attend.

Approximately 200 students are enrolled in the Washington-Dix Street Academy. While it generally takes a student four years to complete the curriculum in a comprehensive high school, students at the academy can graduate in 2 1/2 years. The academy's trimester schedule, three 14-week semesters beginning in September, enables students to complete more courses in a year.

In addition to the standard academic courses required at the academy -- English, math, science, history, and geography -- the academy also offers business courses, street law courses, career planning, and computer courses. In the IBM computer lab, donated by D.C. Public School Office of Instruction, students learn data entry, word processing, and keyboarding. The lab is also used to study for the SAT.

Extracurricular activities offered at Washington-Dix include a Spanish club, drama club, street law club, and a karate club. However, students must maintain a "C" grade point average to participate in these activities. "There are some students who we feel have tremendous potential . . . but they have to take responsibility if they want the privileges," said Jackson.

For instance, Ed Kearney, 19, who enjoys participating in the karate club, had to surrender his white cotton ki {karate uniform} until he improved his grades. "I think I've earned my uniform back," he said, trying to convince Jackson. "We'll see Friday when the grades come in," Jackson responded.

Louis Nero, who has taught at the academy for 14 years, said the individual attention students get makes the difference. "The way we deal is not like in a regular school," said Nero. "Students have different relationships with different teachers and counselors . . . they learned to trust us."

Many of the students are on a first name basis with the teachers. "They treat you like an adult," said LeJuan Green, 21.

Like Green, many of the academy students are young parents, and most of them, for one reason or another, did not do well in the traditional academic setting. "Some students are working against insurmountable odds," Nero said. "These students have been misunderstood."

Green said when she attended Roosevelt she was going through emotional changes, and used to fight all the time. "I succumbed to peer pressure," she said. She had no adults in her life to confide in. Her grades suffered. She said the teachers at Roosevelt didn't seem to care.

"At Roosevelt, if you go to school, you go. If you don't, you don't. But {at the academy} they're really strict on that."

"Whenever you have a problem here, you can come and talk to Mr. Jackson," said Green.

But problems are no excuse for not attending class at the academy. "We try to encourage better attendance," said Jackson.

"I used to have a game. I always made up excuses not to do my work," said Green. "But here the teachers will tell you 'I'm not going to accept that jive, you have to do your work or else.'"

Green said her counselor at the academy helped her understand her problem. "He told me that I was afraid to get out of high school. I was afraid to get out into the real world," she said. "He was the first counselor to confront me and challenge me."

Green completed her curriculum in December and will participate in the graduation ceremony in the summer.

Students don't always complete the 2 1/2-year curriculum in 2 1/2 years, Jackson said. The students proceed at their own pace. "A student may need a furlough to gather his thoughts, or get his life together," he said. A student may need to submit himself to a rehab {drug abuse rehabilitation} center, or take time off to work full-time to meet financial obligations. "They can go with the understanding that the door {to the academy} is always open."

"Here, it's better. Because there are less students, teachers pay more attention," said Calvin Jones, a senior who is now a participant in the D.C. Department of Police Junior Cadet program training to become a police officer. He said, in retrospect, he would have been better off if he had enrolled in the academy as a sophomore.

Upon graduation this summer, Jones will enroll in courses at the University of the District of Columbia as part of the police cadet program.

Academy officials encourage the students to pursue higher education. From the class of 1986, 19.2 percent of the Academy's graduates enrolled in a college, university, or trade school.

"You find that many students are determined to make a difference with this opportunity," said Jackson.