The Alternative School students attend school from 7:20 a.m. to 10:26 a.m. Classes are 45 minutes in length. Students take academic classes plus a required work-study class. All classes required for a high school diploma are offered.
Students are dismissed at 10:26 a.m. in order to go to a job site. We operate a state approved work-study program. Students earn a grade and school credit according to their performance at that job site. Work-study teachers visit job sites to help determine student progress, to talk to employers about student progress, and to make sure that the job is appropriate for the student. The teacher makes sure the employer is in compliance with child labor laws.
Students have individual teachers for each subject. The counselor and principal look at each student's credits and determine a plan for graduation for that student. Students are then scheduled accordingly.
Students can graduate with their class and participate in the district's graduation ceremony. Students who have worked very hard, and may not have believed graduation day would come, see the fruits of their labor come together.
Students are completing curricular requirements set forth by the Fairfield City Schools Board of Education, so when requirements are completed, students receive a Fairfield High School Diploma. Students who attend the Alternative School may readily participate in any school function, club, activity (including graduation) unless some disciplinary situation is involved that would prevent it. If a student wants to participate in athletics, he or she must be academically eligible as with any Fairfield student.
Our environment is very structured. We are set up to provide adult supervision in all settings. It is uncommon for a student to skip and slip away unnoticed as attendance is taken by period, by hand, so if a student skips, we know right away. Should a student skip, we notify parents immediately and begin the discipline process. It is very important that our students feel a sense of family here. Once a student feels this trust, they want to be in school here. This leads to very little skipping or, for that matter, other discipline issues. We take pride in trying to intervene in a situation that might become a discipline issue. This way, we can work with the student to learn how to make good choices so that they can deal with a situation appropriately before it becomes a discipline issue.
The majority of our students are bright students who are very capable academically, but for whatever reason, have shut down with regard to school or are making negative choices at school. We aim to work with the students to correct this. We also endeavor to be a support system to parents as many times they have tried everything and are at wits' end. But we recognize as educators that it may take us some time to change student problems and we are very patient in working with students until those changes occur. This is why the large majority of our students do succeed and graduate from high school.