BPS plans alternative school

Abbie Deng, Opinion Editor

Bellevue Public Schools (BPS) will be opening a new alternative school located at the district support center in Bellevue on the second floor of the building.

program would allow the school district to better meet the needs of all students. Not all students find success in the traditional school environment. Having an alternative setting may help us to meet the needs of those students who currently struggle to find success in both of our high schools,” Assistant Superintendent Robert Moore said.

The district has been in contact with other districts who have integrated alternative schooling into their education systems.

“We have received tremendous amount of feedback from school administration and teachers requesting that the district begin a program. We are also the only large school in the metro that does not currently have an alternative program.  We have been investigating and visiting other alternative programs in Nebraska and Iowa over the past three years to help us begin planning,” Moore said.

BPS has already started on this project purchasing a building last month and will integrate students slowly into the new school in the following school year.

“Our goal is to open an alternative program next year on a limited scale. We are thinking  about a program that will initially serve 25 to 30 students and eventually grow to 75-100, based on student needs,” Moore said. “The program, when fully implemented, would be designed to meet the needs of students who currently struggle in larger school settings due to a variety of factors. Students who are behind in credits and need additional credit recovery options and students who struggle to maintain appropriate social interactions with their fellow students and staff members could be served by an alternative program.”

The building purchase will not only serve students who are behaviorally challenged, but will also be open to all students in capstone courses to provide adequate space and learning experience.

“Students in an alternative program would have opportunities to accelerate credit recovery and possibly graduate on time with their peers. Additionally, students in the alternative environment would be able to develop stronger relationships with their teachers due to the limited amount of students in the program. All students in the program will have the opportunity to be mentored more intentionally by the staff and given opportunities to connect to future employment/post-secondary training as well as opportunities for personal and career counseling,” Moore said.

While many faculty and staff support an alternative school, not everyone does. Some students fear that those alternative students might feel cast out.

“I think the district would not benefit well from alternative schooling because those kids that need alternative schooling need to be in the same environment as their peers, but if they’re kind of shunned to this alternative school they’re going to become worse and not excel,” senior Madeline Crouch said.

However, others see the new school as a great opportunity for the district to grow. It is seen as an advancement for the district and the students.

“It will definitely offer a new aspect to the district, maybe bring us out there more,” junior Ayden Johnson said. “There’s not many places that have that. It will also help students that already go to the high school, and take them away from that crowd, maybe they’re overwhelmed or confused about things and they go to this alternative school it provides them with people just like them.”