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Sherrard School District adds alternative school inside junior and senior high

The alternative school will serve as a form of intervention for students who struggle with school work or behavioral issues.

SHERRARD, Ill. — Sherrard School District approved the addition of an alternative school inside its junior and senior high schools for their 2022-23 academic year. The alternative school is a form of intervention for students who struggle with class work or behavioral issues.

"We truly want this program to be a school within a school," said Sherrard High School Principal Tim Wernentin. 

Wernentin explained remote learning during the pandemic dramatically showed the need for intervention but many students were unresponsive. 

"Some students just didn't do any work at home, some students didn't have the support at home to be able to encourage their students to get the work done," Wernentin said. "Even though the school reached out in a number of occasions and a number of ways with different people that just wasn't working."

Unlike other high schools, Sherrard does not have an alternative school at a separate location — which is what brought the district to the decision of having the program inside its regular school building. 

"We still don't have the perfect space for the program. We have a temporary space in line for next year, unless something better comes along," Wernentin said. 

The alternative school will take place in a conference room with two offices that can hold up to seven students. The goal of the program is to provide a small group environment with both counseling and social work opportunities.

"We're creating criteria for entrance into the program, we certainly will be collecting information from teachers and counselors and the administrators to find out who would have a priority to be in the program," Wernentin said. "Certainly we'll bring the parents in and explain what the program is. We're not going to assign a student we want it to be volunteer basis to begin with."

The district plans on expanding the program into two classrooms. Down the road, they hope to move the school to an entirely different location.

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