UPDATE: Central High will stay open - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Central High will stay open

Dubuque (KWWL) -- At Monday's Dubuque School Board meeting, the board accepted a recommendation that will keep Dubuque's Central Alternative High School open for at least another year. But, that's just one part of a recommendation approved from the task force designed to combat student drop-outs.

The community task force on dropout prevention and graduation rate improvement started last fall It was partially a response to a debate about Central High, which was in danger of closing last summer.

More than 120 students drop out in the district each year. The goal of the task force is to lower that number by using prevention in all grade levels. The plan that will be unveiled Monday night involves several steps, one of which will keep Central High at least for another year.

"I ended up running away, and with that, I just stopped going to school," Skye Kieffer said.

"My freshman year, they told me that I wasn't going to graduate on time, I was kind of thinking about just dropping out and just ending it," Brandon Robey said.

Now, both students and many others who thought of dropping out go to Central Alternative High School. After research, the task force decided an alternative setting must exist for success.

"All students do not fit in the traditional, comprehensive school. We would love for that to happen. It would be so much easier, so much simpler if that did happen, right? We wouldn't have to be concerned with what are we going to do with this one or that one. But the fact is, we do have to be concerned," Claudette Bees, Central Student Needs Facilitator said.

The task force plan also includes mentoring for all students, new academic interventions, and detailed data collections.

"We don't have a consistent way to take a look at dropouts to find out exactly who's dropping out and why they're dropping out. We started some of that work last year, but that will really help lead us I think to more specific interventions in the future," David Olson, Director of Secondary Education said.

For Kieffer and Robey and others, alternative education worked and after graduation, they plan to go to even more school.

"After I earn my business degree at NICC, I want to go to a four year college," Robey said.

"I'm going to NICC next fall for nursing," Kieffer said.

Central will stay for the next year, but the task force is looking beyond that as well. Ideas include working with area colleges and high schools to provide more classes -- either at Central or possibly a different location.

Another smaller task force will be formed to work out details to implement the plans. That's expected to start in April.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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