‘New Pathway’: KPS to revamp alternative ed program

By: 
Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – Officials at Kalkaska Public Schools aren’t just thinking of tweaking the school district’s alternative program housed at Kalkaska High School, they’re looking to restructure and even reinvent it, while also creating a new path for non-college bound students.

At its regular meeting Monday, Dec. 10, the KPS Board of Education gave its unanimous blessing, a 5-0 vote with two members absent, to “green light” a potential restructuring proposal of the curriculum at Kalkaska High School and the Kalkaska Alternative Program.

A trio of KHS administrators presented the proposal to restructure KAP and create a more relevant curriculum for non-college bound students in hopes of retaining a higher percentage of current high school students and create a program that’s unique in the region to attract current out-of-district students through Schools of Choice.

“If we keep on doing the same things, we’ll keep getting the same results,” said KHS Principal Chuck Sorentino.

“This will attract kids to be here,” he added. “If we don’t, that’s not going to happen.”

Sorentino said KPS needs to look at reinventing the KAP program, formerly known as the Northside Alternative High School before being moved to KHS, to address the educational needs of students not engaged in a traditional “pencil and paper” school format and don’t intend to pursue a four-year college degree.

“They’ve never been connected” to college prep programs, he said. “They’re more interested in a pathway so they can go to work.”

According to the proposal, the restructuring of the curriculum would create educational programming “for all students to include a graduation pathway for students who are not successful in the traditional model” starting with the 2019-20 school year.

The effort would also create additional classes to correlate with students’ interests, engage students with real-world tasks or projects to earn credits toward graduation and earning a diploma.

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