SIDNEY — The Sidney Alternative School will be closing at the end of the school year.
In an unanimous vote during Monday’s meeting, the Sidney City Schools Board of Education approved a recommendation from Superintendent Bob Humble to close the school.
Sidney High School Principal Brian Powderly, Assistant Principal Clayton Westerbeck and Director of Special Education Chris Barr presented a proposal on bringing the SAS students into the high school for the 2019-20 school year.
“We are proposing a blended learning opportunity for the students,” said Powderly.
The SHS Alternative School within a school proposal, he said, will be located in a large room by the cafe at the high school. It will also include the miniature stage area and two small offices adjacent to each other.
Powderly said there could be 15 to 20 students enrolled in the program. There will be two staff members for the program — a general education teacher and one intervention specialist. They will be using a blended curriculum using PLATO. PBIS will be used for behaviour management and academic success of the students.
There are currently 40 to 50 students enrolled at the alternative school, which is located in the Parkwood School.
Students who do not enroll in the SHS alternative school may enroll in the opportunity school and SCOLA.
The students enrolled will have the opportunity to participate in the credit recovery and blended learning program.
Students, he explained, can move in and out of the alternative room as their schedules require. PBIS will help part time alternative school students move through their day with earned privileges.
Another option within the alternative school is an “In School Restriction” program. This will be used for disciplinary consequences instead of out-of-school suspensions. IRS can support five to seven students per day.
“This will be a space where the students can be successful in the same house where we are at Sidney High School,” said Powderly.
Students enrolled in the opportunity school, said Barr, are usually employed and come to the opportunity school during the “second shift” of the day and evening.
“We were working on expanding the recovery credit program,” said Westerbeck, who is a former SAS principal. “The students need to work on their social skills. By having them at the high school, we can get them involved in the Workforce Partnership program.”
Westerbeck said the class scheduled will be tailored to meet the needs of each student.
Parent Tim Martin, of Sidney, voiced his concerns about closing the school.
“I’m not here as a Sidney City School employee but as a concerned parent,” Martin said. “I disagree with closing Sidney Alternative School. My son, Ty, went to the alternative school and he was successful there.
Ty, he said, was on schedule to graduate when he passed away during a church mission in Mexico.
“I know the teachers care. I know the principal cares. Ty was on schedule for graduation before he tragically died,” said Martin. “There are four students scheduled to graduate this year. This might be best for the budget, but are you doing what’s best for the kids?”
All certified staff members will continue to be employed by the district. However, the board non-renewed the classified staff members due to the closing of the school building. Those employed at the SAS whose contracts were nonrenewed were Bill Shoffner, Tabitha Hughes, Julie Slaybaugh, Kristy Kendall, Nicole Frew, Emily Lewis and Tim Martin.
Board member Mandi Croft asked if the nonrenewed employees will go into a pool that they would be hired first if the need arises.
Humble said that would be the case but they probably wouldn’t be needed elsewhere in the district.
In other business, the board:
• Went into executive session to discuss the employment of a person for the district. No action was taken.
• Approved the resignations of Bryan Snyder, custodian, and Wesley Branscum, aide.
• Approved the employment of Pam Dixon as a substitute Latchkey aide at $11 per hour.
• Employed Scott Roddy, Donna Jones, Greg Snyder, Fran Miller and Erika Brux to work athletic events per OHSAA guidelines.
The board’s next meeting will be Monday, Dec. 3, at the board office at 6 p.m.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.