Jerome School District to add alternative school in the fall

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JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Some students in Jerome County now have another option for a school come this fall.

"Our high school is becoming very large, we're running out of space," said Dale Layne, the superintendent of schools at the Jerome School District.

Layne said at Jerome High School, there's a small group of kids who are part of an alternative program along with some Jerome County residents who do travel to Twin Falls for Magic Valley High School.

Now, they have decided to add a new, unnamed, standalone alternative school so those students part of that education will get moved out of those schools, should they get accepted.

"This is a stand alone model, so these students will actually be graduating from this school with a diploma from that school," Layne said. This means that those students who were part of the alternative program at Jerome High receive a diploma from that high school.

Layne said that they will be hiring three teachers to start.

"We'll go from there based on how enrollment goes," he said.

The new principal for the school has worked with alternative students for years now.

"The whole aspect of, helping at risk-kids and helping alternative kids is fantastic," explained Sean Sapgnolo, the new principal for the alternative school.

He said there's a big stigma around the students who get a different type of education.

"Most kids think it's the bad kids. Most people think it's the kids in the juvenile justice system," he said. "Meanwhile we have those kids, there's a lot of great kids that don't play well."

Layne anticipates they'll have about 50 students to start.

"Right now, we started with kind of the core content, science, math and English. Because we're limited on teachers, we may still have to do some of the online electives," Layne said.

They will also be working in the school district building.

"The big difference is that they just get anxious when they're in a bigger class. There's more noise, there's more stimulus without them and when they're in a smaller setting, they seem to do better," explained Nate Tracy, the principal of Jerome High School.

Having this standalone alternative school will help the students who may need a little more one-on-one attention.

"We try to give them their options, we try to make sure that they have other ways of learning and showing they're learning, other ways they're mastering credits and skills," Sapgnolo said.

Layne said this school is funded by the state.

The school will open this fall and there is an application. Those that are interested can contact Jerome High School at 208-324-8137 or the Jerome School District at 208-324-2392.

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