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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Leavenworth, Lansing schools partner for alternative program

  • Members of the Leavenworth and Lansing school boards gathered Thursday for a rare joint meeting to discuss a new alternative school program.
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  • Members of the Leavenworth and Lansing school boards gathered Thursday for a rare joint meeting to discuss a new alternative school program.
    The planned program will be housed in Lansing but serve students in both districts.
    During the meeting, the boards passed a resolution, agreeing to work in collaboration.
    Eric Punswick, associate superintendent for the Leavenworth public schools, said the program will serve students in grades seven through 12. Students in the program will be able to receive high school diplomas from their respective school districts.
    According to Punswick, the alternative program will assist students who struggle in a traditional school setting.
    He said school officials are looking to provide a system that is more personalized to individual needs.
    The program, which is scheduled to launch in the fall, will use online curriculum provided through the Greenbush Southeast Kansas Education Service Center. Greenbush already provides curriculum for a dropout recovery program in Lansing.
    The new alternative program will allow students to move at an appropriate pace, according to Punswick.
    The school districts also will partner will the University of Saint Mary and the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth for the program.
    Punswick said Saint Mary will provide student teachers to help with the program and also assist the students with things such as college planning. The Sisters of Charity will help with things such tutoring and career planning.
    “We sit on a gold mine of resources here in Leavenworth County,” he said.
    Leavenworth Superintendent Kelly Crane said when people look at alternative schools, one component that’s often left out is a connection with counseling and planning for the future. She said this will be part of the new program through the partnerships with Saint Mary and the Sisters of Charity.
    Punswick said the program will operate morning and afternoon sessions and up to 25 students can be enrolled in each session.
    Students will be accepted based on applications and recommendations through a school student improvement process.
    The Leavenworth district will provide a coordinator for the program. The Lansing district will provide an instructor.
    The coordinator, who also will be in charge of other programs, already has been chosen. During Thursday’s meeting, Leavenworth board members approved a staffing report which listed various personnel changes. One of the changes listed is the transfer of Jofee Tremain to the position of coordinator of alternative programs.
    Tremain, who currently serves as the principal of David Brewer Elementary School, will transition into her new job at the end of the school year.
    Noting the planned morning and afternoon sessions, Leavenworth board member Nancy Klemp asked if students in the new program will be going to class for only half days.
    Page 2 of 2 - Punswick said Lansing’s dropout recovery program already uses the morning and afternoon system, but individuals can elect to attend for a whole day.
    Lansing Superintendent Randy Bagby said the half day system will allow students to participate in things such as band in their home school districts or even take regular education classes in addition to their alternative studies.
    “They’ll be able to do both,” he said.
    According to Punswick, students in the alternative program will be able to participate in athletic and extra-curricular activities in their home districts. The districts also will provide the students access to vocational programs.
    Leavenworth board Vice President Marti Crow asked if students will be able to move from the alternative program back into the regular education setting.
    “It’s possible,” Bagby said.

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