CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - Alternative schools offer a needed change of pace for students that are working hard to earn credits as they work toward a diploma. Now, Clear Lake High School is planning to add an alternative school to its campus.
The district currently has an agreement with Garner-Hayfield-Ventura to allow students to use their space as part of the Lakeside Alternative School. During the time the agreement has been in effect, the school has moved to different buildings in both Ventura and Clear Lake, including at the former Sunset School, before moving to Ventura last year.
Counselor Deb Sharar makes a weekly road trip to Ventura about once a week to meet with the students.
"It's not a semester class like we are, so they can go out there and earn their credits for graduation. It's been a successful program, we've had many students graduate from our alternative school."
And they feel that the slower pace and flexible schedule can help them get on track.
"We get a lot of feedback and thank yous, and from the families too, because the students earned a diploma."
However, from the high school to Lakeside, it's a roughly 10-15 minute drive. As such, if students want to participate in extra-curricular activities like band and electives, they must travel back and forth. Because of this, Clear Lake administrators believe the time is now to have an alternative school right on campus.
The school will be set up in a room that was formerly used for a state program toward the back side of the high school. All that's needed is desks, chairs, supplies and a teacher.
With the move, students would not longer have to jump between campuses to pursue elective courses in art, agriculture, industrial technology and computer science.
"Anything in industrial tech, they have to be in the auto shop or the building trades. They don't have any access to that or agriculture classes or our computer science classes."
But it goes beyond just course accessibility - it also allows inclusion.
"It would also give our kids in the alternative school access to the rest of our building, the access to our counselors, the access if they wanted to be in sports and different activities," high school principal Chris Murphy says.
The move will be made during the next school year.