(08/29/13) - At the end of the last school year, declining enrollment forced the Atherton School District to close an elementary school.
Now the building is getting a second chance as a non-traditional school.
It's late summer, and time to get Vern Van Y Elementary in the Atherton School District ready for another year.
But this re-opening is un-expected.
Administrators thought they had closed the doors for good in the spring, after years of declining enrollment.
Now they have a new plan that calls for part of Van Y to serve as an Alternative Virtual Academy.
"The alternative academy will be for students who have fallen behind or struggling in a traditional high school setting, and we'd like to offer them another chance, another avenue to be successful with their high school completion," said John Ploof, Atherton superintendent.
This curriculum will be unlike more traditional alternative school settings. Students will learn online at home and in the classroom.
The program is modeled after a similar one in the Mt. Morris District. The superintendent there says it's been a success.
"I think public schools are looking for ways to keep kids engaged in education, and students are looking for other options outside of the traditional high school, so we have really have put a program into place that will offer support as they try these online programs," said Mt. Morris superintendent Tricia Hill.
Atherton and Mt. Morris will share six staff members for their programs this year. Atherton will take 60 students from around the area for the pilot year and perhaps more down the road.
Classes start Sept. 16.
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