Board to discuss alternative school

The Moffat County School District has given the alternative school concept four shots and is preparing to give it another this fall.
School officials are working diligently to have program focus, support and staff ready by the start of the 2004-05 school year.
"It's our concept of meeting the needs of all the students and one-size-fits-all is not the ideal for all students," Superintendent of Schools Pete Bergmann said. "The more alternatives to achieve success we can provide, the better system we have and the more we realize the benefits to all students."
According to Bergmann, district officials are taking the successes of past efforts, building on them and weeding out what doesn't work.
And that brings the district nearly full circle.
Alternative schools are established where Serendipity coffee shop is located and at the former Shiloh Home youth care center, then closer to home in the School Administration Building and at the high school. The program changed while at the high school to a guided study program as opposed to an alternative program.
"We're really working hard at putting together the best model," Bergmann said. "We're looking at the past, evaluating successes and researching best practices."
The district's current plan is to establish an alternative school in the old National Guard Armory currently leased by the Boys and Girls Club of Craig.
The district is still developing the school's philosophy and entrance criteria.
In general, alternative school students will have more individualized and flexible instruction including correspondence classes via the Internet, but there will be counselors and a teacher on staff for one-on-one work.
"It's based more on achieving standards than actual 'seat time,'" Bergmann said.
Student scan complete the programs within their schedules and at their pace.
"We're trying to meet the needs of a diverse group of students who don't fit -- for whatever reason -- traditional education in a traditional high school," Bergmann said.
The school district has applied for a grant for expelled and at-risk students, part of which would be used to fund the alternative school.
But the School Board has allocated $80,000 to fund the program regardless of whether it receives the grant.
School officials estimate that there are 30 students at the high school who could qualify for alternative school placement.
Bergmann will update the School Board on the alternative school Thursday night.
The school district has been advertising for an alternative school teacher, and Bergmann said several strong candidates have applied. He thinks he might even have a teacher in place by Thursday's meeting.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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