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EACS alternative school lauded

June 22nd, 2017

Elementary initiative might go districtwide

By Ashley Sloboda | The Journal Gazette

East Allen County Schools is preparing to give elementary students another place to learn if the traditional classroom setting doesn't work for them.

The school board Tuesday discussed a proposal from the elementary education department that would expand elementary alternative school services districtwide for grades 2-6.

Pending board approval, the program would be housed at Prince Chapman Academy beginning this fall.

A pilot program was conducted at Prince Chapman, which has space for the services and support from the principal, said Marilyn Hissong, assistant superintendent of elementary education.

“It's been very successful this year,” she said, crediting the personnel involved.

Hissong said it's difficult to define the type of student who might benefit from the alternative school because “it can mean a lot of different things.” Behavioral issues can – but not always – prompt those services, and other students may participate because it's a better fit than the traditional classroom setting, she said, adding that some might benefit from more movement.

Students will be placed in the alternative school only after every intervention at their home school is exhausted, Hissong said.

EACS will provide transportation to Prince Chapman from the student's home school, she said.

In other news, the board received an update on building projects at Leo Junior-Senior High School, Leo Elementary School and Heritage Junior-Senior High School.

Work is expected to be substantially complete Aug. 4 on Leo Junior-Senior's auditeria and on Leo Elementary's secure entrance.

Improvements at Heritage, which include new bleachers, should be done by Aug. 24, just in time for its first home football game, Chief Financial Officer Kirby Stahly said.

A project to improve Leo Elementary's gym and cafeteria will go to bid July 12, and construction on athletic buildings at Heritage and Leo junior-senior high schools is expected to start after the football season ends with completion in 2018.

Before adjourning the meeting, board members thanked outgoing Superintendent Ken Folks. He is retiring June 30, which made Tuesday's meeting his last public meeting.

Folks, in saying good-bye, thanked the board.

“You took a chance on me,” he said, calling his time at EACS a “very productive four years.”