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Alternative school in Prophetstown?

‘Alternative learning’ seeks to avoid dropouts

PROPHETSTOWN – The alternative learning program of the Lee/Ogle Regional Office of Education could soon be coming to Prophetstown.

Officials with the Whiteside Regional Office of Education are looking for a place to house the program, called Education Options, which also has a location at Nachusa Campus School in Nachusa.

“There is a need for the alternative education program,” said Chris Palmer, assistant superintendent at ROE. “Area principals agree there are students that need the extra help.”

Bob Sondgeroth, superintendent of the Whiteside ROE, said it’s not economically feasible for students who live in Prophetstown, Morrison or Erie to travel to the Nachusa site.

“We are trying to find a location in a school district in Prophetstown, Morrison or Erie,” Sondgeroth said. “Preferably, we’d like to house it in Prophetstown, because it’s a central location and we can bring the program to Whiteside County.”

The program would have its own teacher and possibly a teacher’s aide.

“We would prefer to house the program in a building that has a school administrator already,” Sondgeroth said.

The education options program is a safe and secure classroom for students who suffer from anxiety and other non-disciplinary attendance issues.

Students do all of their school work on computer programs.

“These kids don’t have a real discipline problem; they just don’t like the regular school,” Sondgeroth said. “Sometimes, we have to seek out the students, or else they will drop out.”

Students in the program earn school credits similar to a high school student.

When students are eligible to graduate, they get an actual high school diploma from their home high school.

Palmer estimates the program will have about 10 students. Students put in 5.5 hours of work each day.

“The new location would be like an umbrella of what is near Dixon,” Palmer said.

Sondgeroth said the Prophetstown School District will decide whether to house the program.

“They have to decide if they have a place for us to put it,” Sondgeroth said. “If not, we will look for another spot.”

If they agree to house the program, it could start as early as the spring semester.

David Rogers, superintendent of the Prophetstown School District, could not be reached for comment.

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