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Second chance diploma now accessible at Arlee Schools

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ARLEE – Students struggling to graduate high school now have an alternative graduation choice after the school board passed a motion to allow the Yes Program to be established within the high school. 

“The main impetus of this program is to serve those children that might not get a diploma,” said Superintendent George Linthicum.

Program director Rhonda Kinney searched out students who would benefit from the program. They signed up early with the knowledge that the program needed to pass the board before their work would count towards an alternative diploma.

“We’ve had four students return to school that were on dropout status,” she said. “Some students felt they were so credit deficient that they couldn’t do it and others felt they didn’t fit well in a regular school setting.” 

Kinney spent time traveling to schools around Montana to research different alternative school programs. She is utilizing that knowledge to create operating procedures for the new program. 

“We are just starting up. We have a lot to figure out,” she said.

The board allowed the program to pass with the stipulation that the diploma earned is from the Yes Program and is separate from the school’s regular diploma. 

“This is a school within a school,” Kinney said.

In other business, Elementary Principal Don Holst reported that Vernon Grant, University of Montana doctoral candidate, was given approval to begin his study. Grant plans to video record upper level elementary students’ activity levels before and after he teaches them how to play organized games during recess. 

“He’ll be here for eight weeks,” Holst said. 

Max W. Blodgett is the new assistant high school boys’ basketball coach.

“I’m working with junior varsity and as an assistant to the head coach,” he said. 

The high school yearbook committee is knocking on doors trying to raise enough money in advertising sales to get the school’s yearbook budget out of the red and cover this year’s costs at the same time. Last year, the book filled with pictures of students and events didn’t sell well and advertising slots were sold at a lower than usual rate, causing the debt. 

“It’s been lurking since last spring at $1,016,” said District Clerk Lonnie Morin. “If anyone wants to help (by buying ads) that would be great.” 

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