School Board Approves Changes to Alternate School
By SHAUN FRIEDRICHSEN
In an attempt to better address the needs of students at the alternative school, the Alliance School Board approved a configuration change in an effort to prepare students for life after graduation.
Superintendent Dr. Troy Unzicker said the changes come about as a result of much discussion among officials.
“We have spent quite a bit of time discussing the alternative school and its configuration,” said Unzicker. “I learned about the history of the alternative school this year that I was unaware of. I’m completing my sixth year, and I’m just finding out information about when it was created it was supposed to be short term. We feel there is quite a bit of value to the alternative school, so we don’t want to see it go away.”
Unzicker and the administrative team made the recommendation to keep the alternative school alive, but to make some changes.
“One (change), we will increase the student requirement to full days, so they will be required to be in classes for full days, or they can be released for work release. We would like to move the school into the ag building classrooms. We feel this is going to provide better opportunity for students to take elective coursework that right now they’re opting not to take, and I think it’s just too far across town to get to it. So, we’d like to move them right back in to where they can get into a vocal music, or a band, or a PE, or an art class, or woods class to create better opportunities.”
To help make positions in the alternative school more elite, students wishing to enter the school will be required to complete at least 100 credits before they apply.
“We would like to up the admission requirements,” said Unzicker. “We have kids coming in out of the Middle School because they view it as the easier path. During the time that you apply, you can’t have missed more than 10 days in a semester, or the previous semester. Students at risk of expulsion we do not want at the alternative school. This needs to become an elite position. We’re spending extra money on the position; it shouldn’t be a dumping ground.”
Students currently enrolled in the alternative school will be grandfathered in, Unzicker said. He noted that students who face any disciplinary or attendance problems will lose their spot at the school and return to the main high school courses.
“This toughens things up a lot,” said Unzicker. “We may lose a few more kids, but I think we want to keep that rigor much higher. They receive an Alliance High School diploma and we’re sending them out there with that.”
The board voted unanimously to approve the changes at the school.