Parents thank SAS staff for supporting their son

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — Words of praise were given to the Sidney Alternative School by Tim and Alison Martin during Monday night’s Sidney City Schools Board of Education meeting.

The Martin’s son, Ty Austin Martin, had attended the SAS for two years until his death in July while he was on a mission in Mexico. He was 17 when he passed away.

“I can remember Mr. (SAS principal Clayton) Westerbeck making a comment about Ty not being able to finish school and get his diploma. Ty fought a good fight and he received his diploma from God,” said Tim Martin.

“We’d like to thank the staff and Mr. Westerbeck who believed in him when no one else did,” said Martin. “He became a role model and finished his race in Tijuana, Mexico.”

Superintendent John Scheu thanked the couple for their positive comments about the school and its staff.

“Clayton Westerbeck has the toughest job in our school system,” said Scheu. “They are a caring staff. We appreciate your thoughts.”

Westerbeck then updated the board on what has been happening at the school since the beginning of the school year. There are 46 students enrolled at SAS — 13 junior high students and 33 high school students.

The school has a blended schedule, said Westerbeck. There are four core classes which are taught via direct instruction at the school. The teachers can work and meet with the students on their individual progress level in the classes.

“Some of the programs they take on the Plato program,” said Westerbeck.

The students, he said, are achieving their goals. Sixteen students have earned 20 credits so far this school year. One student has earned four credits.

He said students being tardy to school hasn’t been a big issue this year. During the 2015-16 school year — at this point of the year — there were 235 tardy instances. This year, only 94 reports of tardiness.

Westerbeck said a “caught being good” program has been started at the school. This is teaching the students about peer leadership.

Each student meets with the guidance counselor to make sure they stay on track. They meet as a group once a week and individually as needed.

The afterschool Bridges program, he said, has also been successful. The district received a grant from the United Way to implement the program, met twice a week for 12 weeks last school year. This year the program has been revamped so the program will last longer in the school year.

The grant, he said, pays for 24 sessions. So this year the program will have two sessions one week, one session for the next few weeks and finish the school year with two sessions the last three weeks of the program.

He is also working with Upper Valley Career Center to get some of the students enrolled in classes there. Ty Martin, he said, was the first student to attend the Career Center through SAS.

There’s also a jobs program, he said, which helps students earn credits toward their high school graduation.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook,

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook,