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Good things happening at alternative school

May 28, 2008
Good things are happening at Crawford County's alternative school, Allison Millar, its executive director, told the Crawford County School Corp. Board of Trustees last Tuesday night.

The school, which serves grades nine through 12, helped 76 students this year, including 30 seniors who were on pace to graduate, Millar said. Only five students didn't complete the program, she said. Three elected to get a GED instead, one chose to be homeschooled and one was dismissed due to attendance, she said.

Students are referred to the alternative school, located at the Crawford County Youth Service Bureau in Marengo, by officials at Crawford County High School, Millar said. They can be referred because of academics and behavior issues, but there can be other reasons they come to the alternative school, including pregnancy and being homebound due to medical issues, she explained.

Millar added the alternative school also serves as the high school's summer school program. Currently, 25 students are registered for classes this summer, with another seven on the waiting list, she said.

Besides focusing on their classroom studies, students at the alternative participate in community service learning projects, Millar said. These have included preparing Christmas baskets, organizing community Easter egg hunts and serving meals to the homeless, she said.

"They (students) plan them, then organize them, and they run them," she said.

The alternative school, since the start of 2008, has also housed the school corporation's alternative to suspension program for grades seven through 12.

"Since January, we have graduated almost 100 students in this program," Millar said.

While serving their suspension, the students must do the same work they would have if attending class at the high school, Millar said. They also must complete a community service project and a lifeskills program dealing with the cause of their suspension, such as drug and alcohol education or anger management, she said.

The community service aspect of the program, Millar said, has been particularly effective, as it has shown students they can do something positive for other people.

"They feel good about themselves by participating in it," she said.

Millar said such programs that keep suspended students in a classroom setting likely will be mandated shortly.

"So, we're one step ahead in Crawford County by providing this for our students," she said.

Millar said every student at the alternative school has an Individual Education Plan, and the small setting allows for personal instruction.

"If they need one-on-one tutoring in math, they're going to get it," she said, explaining the staff works hard to get to know each student. "The key to the success of our program is the relationships" between the students and the staff.

In another matter, Missy Stroud of the Crawford County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation group asked the board to consider making the corporation's six campuses tobacco-free.

Presenting them with several materials, including survey results from both Crawford County youth and adults, to review at their leisure, she said area school corporations have already enacted tobacco-free policies to set good examples for students.

The school board, in other business, also voted 6-0 (trustee Lucas Stroud was absent) to pass the following items as part of a single-vote consent agenda:

•The resignations of Cherish Wininger as English teacher, Rich Brooks as a part-time custodian, Lance Stroud as sponsor of the Science Club, Jennifer Nokes as a music aide at the elementary schools, and Amanda Staff as a Title I assistant.

•The coaching appointments of Cheryl Day, junior varsity volleyball; Carly Kaiser, seventh-grade volleyball; Jelynn Crecelius, high school cheerleading; Michael Howerton, varsity assistant football; Michael Carlisle, seventh-grade football; and Michael Barron, eighth-grade football.

•Hiring of Krisanne Roll as a language arts teacher, Cheryl Reagan as a science and math teacher, and Jill Stutzman as a business teacher, all at the high school.

•The approval of administrative contracts and salary schedule for the 2008-09 school year.

•The hiring of Dale Foust as a part-time custodian.

•The proposed support staff for the 2008-09 school year.

•Payment to support staff for two school days waived by the state.

•The request for a field trip to Michigan City on June 9 through 12.

•A cross country team field trip to McCormick's Creek State Park on June 24 and 25.

•Amending the minutes from a previous meeting to include the administrative staff in a recommendation made by Superintendent Dr. Mark Eastridge regarding an increase in salary for the 2007-08 school year.

•Correcting the minutes from a previous meeting to reflect the new master contract. Each GT academic team's coaching staff will receive $102 instead $100 as earlier indicated.

•The bus addendum request of driver Billy Joe Walker of 7.4 miles for 14 days, from Feb. 6 through March 4, for a total of 103.6 miles.

•Approving the recommended English/language arts adoption list for the high school for the 2008-09 school year.

•Approving the recommendation from the elementary school principals to apply for a waiver for the 2008-09 English/language arts textbook adoption, since they are happy with the textbooks currently being used.

•Approving recommended changes to the elementary schools' parent/student handbook.

•Naming Angela Wilcox as dance coach at English Elementary School.

• Approving the high school student handbook.

In another item, Eastridge noted Jasper Engines and Transmissions sent a thank-you card and financial compensation for the school corporation using its buses to help evacuate JET employees during a recent emergency at the Carefree plant.

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