(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam School Board Monday night approved a plan to close the Don Smith Learning Academy and merge the students into the high school. The alternative learning facility on East Burnett Street serves at-risk students pursuing their high school degree. That may include students who have dropped out or are one-or-more years behind their peers in credits; two-or-more years behind in basic skill levels; habitual truants, adjudicated delinquents or students who scored below basic on state assessments.
District Assessment and Technology Officer Jesse Peters says the district has been working with the state Department of Public Instruction for the past 18 months after several years of not meeting graduation rates under the Every Student Succeeds Act. A group studying the issue determined the problem was not with the facility but was instead systemic.
Peters says combining services with the high school campus will provide more equitability for at-risk students. That would give students more access to staff, staff with specialized content training, courses, programming, clubs and extracurricular activities and greater flexibility within their day for specialized and traditional instruction.
The merging of at-risk students at Don Smith into the high school will take effect after the current school year ends.