Alternative School Helps Students
Jefferson City's alternative school believes it is that kind of school, and it's celebrating a very successful first year. Hallways at the Jefferson City Academic Center are silent compared to other schools, but that's the way the school likes it.
"It's a very family like atmosphere," said Deanne Fisher, Academic Center Principal.
An atmosphere they believe turns kids around.
"There aren't enough kids here for any to slip through the cracks," Fisher said.
Staff at the center makes sure of that fact.
"If students don't come in I give them a call and say, 'Hi, just checkin' in, we hope to see you here, chop chop,'" said Kim Hanschen of the Jefferson City Academic Center.
Ian Thomas dropped out of high school. He thought that would be the end of his schooling until a friend told him about the academic center. Ian's classmates are not discipline problems; they go there because they couldn't balance full-time jobs with school or are unsuccessful in regular classes. The school focuses on the same goals as traditional high schools, but with smaller classes and flexible schedules.
"They work with you," Thomas said.
Four days a week students are in class, and fridays are spent volunteering in the community.
"To see kids grow as individuals is really rewarding," Fisher said.
Thomas is reflecting on his turnaround by making a quilt, showing a history of the school in its first year.
"It just sums everybody up. Everyone participated in this at one point throughout the year," Thomas said.
Twenty-one students have already graduated from the academic center, which is part of the public school system. Fisher hopes graduate 30 students by the end of the year.