Eagle Peak, an alternative school located in the former Pratt Elementary School building, will be downsized and most of its 80 students and staff will be sent to other schools and facilities this fall, Spokane Public Schools announced Thursday.
The changes are unrelated to ongoing school budget cuts, according to spokesman Brian Coddington. The district does not anticipate staff reductions in the move.
Eagle Peak has about 40 employees, including 14 teachers and 22 support staff, most of whom work closely with individual students as paraeducators.
The decision is driven partly from a study commissioned by the district with the Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative in the fall of 2017, with the hopes of using the information to improve the district’s special education services.
Findings were shared with the school board March 27 by Adam Swinyard, the district’s chief academic officer, and Becky Ramsey, a secondary program assistant.
Among the recommendations were that “Eagle Peak must be better connected to the district and to the Special Education Department and can be used as a resource to the district.”
In that same presentation, it was noted that the district is exploring alternative sites for the various programs offered within Eagle Peak.
During the next few weeks, Coddington said, parents and students will be offered other choices, depending on age and other assessments.
The district has invited parents to attend a meeting on May 14 at Logan Elementary School to discuss their options. For some, that could include attending their neighborhood schools.
Some students will be sent to Excelsior Wellness Center, a comprehensive behavioral health services center located on Indian Trail Road in northwest Spokane.
Excelsior Wellness Center is a nonprofit, private agency that provides inpatient and outpatient treatment to youths and their families.
A budget proposal released Wednesday called for a major increase in the district’s contract with Excelsior – from $237,784 this year to more than $1.5 million next school year.
Locations for all nine programs – six of which are currently housed at Eagle Peak – haven’t been determined, Coddington said.
Choices include three new programs.
At Glover Middle School, the district will establish an “inclusion-based model” for seventh- and eighth-graders who require intervention.
At a location to be determined, a vocational program would access the district-owned NEWTech facilities in northeast Spokane.
And an alternative high school for students “who might benefit from a smaller environment, with project-based and blended learning with a vocational component,” Coddington said.
Six programs offered at Eagle Peak will be relocated. They are:
Voyage, which provides individualized academic and behavioral services for students in grades 4-6.
Trek, which offers individualized academic and behavioral services for students in grades 6-8.
180, which serves seventh- and eighth-graders in a blended learning environment using district curriculum, while also providing behavioral and social/emotional life skills.
Eagle High School, which serves high school students with what the district calls a “safe, structured, and therapeutic model.”
Summit High School, an Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) program serving high school students with a flexible schedule. Students work on academics as well as social/emotional skills.
Transitions, an ALE in which staff provide the academic support students need to finish their education.