West Allis - Back to school will have a special significance this fall in the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District, with the opening of a night school for young people who thought education didn't fit into their lives.
The Extended Day School is intended for kids who have to take care of siblings or a parent, have to work to support the family or have fallen so far behind in school that they've given up. School will be from late afternoon through weekday evenings, plus Saturday morning sessions twice a month, at West Allis Central High School.
Parent involvement will be key and progress will be checked with parents and students every month.
Also new this fall is a freshman academy at both high schools. The academies will have a house concept where the same group of teachers will teach all the subjects and the atmosphere will become almost like a family for the 125 students in each academy. It's intended for select students who are deemed likely to benefit from the academies' high-energy and family-like approach to transitioning to high school.
For the elementary students, the Next Generation Learning program will nearly double. Last year, 34 elementary students took part in the program that had a waiting list. Enrollment will jump to 66 this fall.
A big change for high school students, and to a lesser extent the elementary students, is that many more of them will be doing school work on Apple iPads this year. The majority of high school students have been issued iPads that have been loaded up with textbooks and other resources, said Johnna Noll, director of instruction.
This was the first of the three-year one-to-one initiative to get iPads into the hands of students. About a third of students in kindergarten through 12th grade received iPads this year, she said. The priorities tended to be for students in the Next Generation program and those in particular courses at the high schools where money was shifted from buying textbooks in favor of electronic texts, Noll said.
- Jane Ford-Stewart
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