Following an emotional round of budget cuts that led to the closure of two major programs, the Mead School District is attempting to point affected students in the right direction next year.
“It’s been a difficult process,” said Doug Edmonson, the district’s executive director of CTE and Technology.
Along with other district officials, Edmonson has worked with teachers and families at the M.E.A.D. Alternative High School and the project-based Riverpoint Academy.
With a total enrollment of about 250 students this year, MEAD and Riverpoint were the most high-profile casualties as the district board of directors faced a projected budget deficit next year of about $11.3 million.
Of the 80 students at M.E.A.D. this year, “there are two groups,” Edmonson said. Higher-functioning students, some of whom were part of the school’s CORE program, will be going back to their home high school, either Mead or Mt. Spokane.
Other CORE students, along with some from Riverpoint, will be a part of a project-based program at Mead High School.
“After speaking with (M.E.A.D. principal) Bruce Olgard, we’re going to be doing a lot of project-based lessons for those students.” Edmonson said.
For higher-needs students – those with severe medical needs or those who can’t attend because they have a child or must work full time – the district will use the home-school program at its North Star School.
The program is a continuation of the Guided Student Learning program at M.E.A.D., which is designed for students described as “independent, self-motivated and organized learners who are attending Running Start, Skill Center, are parenting, or have another life challenge that keeps them from participating in our Core Program.”
GSL is a full program, with each student responsible for a minimum of 100 study hours per month. The enrollment process is ongoing, said Edmonson, who added that 26 students have signed up for GSL.
The situation is more complicated at Riverpoint, which also has been closed.
Of 168 students enrolled this year, 30 were seniors. Returning students from within the district have the option to sign up for the project-based program at Mead.
If space remains, students from outside the district may be allowed to sign up.
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