Cedaredge High School students who find themselves short of credits with little hope of closing the gap before graduation day now have "Options."
The program is an extension of Delta Opportunity School, a program for at-risk students housed in the old middle school in Delta.
The program has been so successful it was expanded to Paonia, where it's called the North Fork Alternative School. The Cedaredge High School Options program opened this fall and already has 14 students.
Delaine Hudson, director of alternative education for Delta County Joint School District #50, said the CHS program is the only one of the three located on a high school campus. For that reason, it cannot serve expelled students, just the at-risk population. Throughout the Delta Opportunity School system, Hudson says, the most common "at-risk" factor is simply a shortage of credits needed for graduation. The situation looks so hopeless, students are at risk of dropping out.
Allen Golden is the site coordinator at Cedaredge. He is also the counselor at Cedaredge High School, so he divides his duties as do the two Options instructors, Dan Andersen and Jennifer Milburn.
CHS principal Kevin Gardner said personalization is the key to each student's success. At all schools, at all grade levels, the focus is shifting to individualized instruction. That's particularly important for Options students.
The typical school day, where kids generally have eight 50-minute classes, with four minutes to pass from class to class, works for a large majority, but not all students thrive in that environment, Gardner said.
"That's where Options came from," he said. The computer-based curriculum is supplemented by highly qualified teachers who can help the student who is studying Algebra II, as well as the pre-algebra student in the same classroom. Class sizes are limited, which allows hands-on activities. Schedules are flexible, so students can take electives, such as art or ag, or combine work experience with their academic studies. Some students may be taking senior English with the student body, while simultaneously recovering sophomore or junior English credits online.
The "school within a school" makes a lot of sense financially, Gardner added. Students have more choices without any additional expense for teachers, administrators or buildings. There is an element of competition with the Vision Charter Academy, Gardner acknowledged, but competition can only benefit the kids.
Hudson views Options as "middle ground" between Vision and the traditional school, for kids who need more of the structure that a traditional school provides, yet in an alternative setting.
A total of 103 students are enrolled in the Delta County Opportunity School program — 14 at Cedaredge, 24 in the North Fork and 65 in Delta.blog comments powered by Disqus