Planning Underway for Nebraska Transition - November 18, 2016
Initial plans for the new program to be housed at the former Nebraska Elementary School were shared with members of the FWCS Board of School Trustees Friday, Nov. 18.
Beginning in the fall of 2017, the building will house an alternative program for students in grades 6-10. Students requiring alternative services currently attend Ward Education Center, but the condition of the building is deteriorating, and it was not included in the building plan approved by voters in May. Ward will be closed at the end of the 2016-17 school year, and the students in the program housed there will be moved to other buildings as the alternative program is redesigned.
“We are not simply picking up the program at Ward and moving it to Nebraska,” Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. “The program at Nebraska will be focused on helping students learn how to be successful socially and academically while they are in the program and when they return to their home schools. By limiting the grades served in the program to middle school and the early years of high school, we can focus specifically on the needs of younger students. Juniors and seniors in high school have different needs and will be served in a separate program that will focus on college and career readiness.”
Full details of the program are still being determined, but the program at Nebraska will have a strong community service component that will benefit the Nebraska neighborhood. This could include developing a community garden and finding other ways to serve the neighborhood. At a recent meeting with the Nebraska Neighborhood Association, residents of the neighborhood expressed to FWCS officials an interest in being involved in the school, which could lead to mentorship or other opportunities for those living near the school.
“When we closed Nebraska as an elementary school because of declining enrollment and a desire to be fiscally responsible, we told the neighborhood we were not abandoning them,” Dr. Robinson said. “We are looking forward to retaining this building as an anchor in the community by serving students who need additional support to become productive, responsible citizens.
Initial work on the building, including asbestos abatement, has already been done in preparation for the $3.2 million renovation of the school. The renovation is part of the building plan voters approved in May.