Dubuque Dropout Forum Focuses on Saving a School - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque Dropout Forum Focuses on Saving a School

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) - "Can we cut off the flow of kids who are at risk of becoming dropouts?" asked Dubuque Superintendent John Burgart at the start a Dropout Public Forum in Dubuque. Although it wasn't the main issue, an underlying issue is how Central Alternative High School is needed to do that. The District tried to close the school to save money and move it's programs to other high schools.

Students believe it's about more than the programs offered at their school.  "Here we're like a family," said Kristle Erickson. And as students fill the hallways at the end of the school day at Central Alternative High School.  Many of these students had trouble getting along in a normal high school, making learning there a little hard.   

"Instead of reading from books and drawing on a chalk board and stuff we're doing it, we're showing you how.  this is life, this is how it works," said 2002 graduate, Lindsey Hoyne.  Part of the curriculum here involves an expedition out of the classroom to get real life experience. For example, students in a newsletter class visit a nursing home, talk with residents and write a newsletter for them to read. 

"It's a way to teach journalistic skills but also have a connection to the community," said Time Ebeling, Special Education teacher.  Erickson also added, "Students at Central learn better hands on."

While some argue that the programs offered inside this building could be offered anywhere. People here say its about more than the programs.  "I really believe our school gives students who haven't often times had a real sense of identity something that they can believe in and that is themselves," said Ebeling. Hoyne added, "Anybody can do it but nobody does it. We do it. So that's why it works."

As the district debates the school's future. Students can only attest to its present. Saying things like, "If this school wasn't here I wouldn't graduate." And "It would mean my diploma." 

Dubuque schools will hold a second meeting focusing on early education and whether to close Jones Day Care.  That forum will be Tuesday at 6:30 at the district offices at the forum.

Online reporter: Lauren Squires

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