Graney agreed that the new program can save money. Ti High has students who received tutoring outside of the school at taxpayer expense as mandated by the state for a variety of reasons — discipline, health, legal and others.
“A lot of this is done after school,” Graney said. “If we can do this during the school day at an alternative location it will save us money.”
Sheridan Burleigh, a Ticonderoga special education teacher, approached the Ticonderoga town board recently seeking donated space for the alternative education program.
“We are looking for space outside the high school because we feel that these kids would be more successful in a slightly different environment,” he told town trustees.
Deb Malaney, Ticonderoga supervisor, embraced the program. She believes the town can find room for the students in the basement of the Community Building.
“The project is looking to adhere to academics in the morning with a work study, community service or internship program in the afternoon in order to get these kids more hands-on activities,” Burleigh said. “We can garner credits for work study and things like that.
“It would be a great experience for these kids and the goal is to get the kids their diplomas, but to also get them back into the mainstream of the regular school by the time they are juniors and to make them better citizens of Ticonderoga,” he said.
“If we can get community-service type projects, kids will start to take ownership of the community and start to appreciate where they live and what a great place this is,” Burleigh said.
McDonald is confident the state will approve the alternative education program in time for its to begin in September.
“We want to open as many doors as possible for our students,” McDonald said. “Not every kid is going to college. We’re looking to help some kids who are interested in other careers.”
Graney said the proposal makes sense.
“We already address the needs of these students, but we feel we can do it in a more efficient way that provides a better education for the kids,” he said. “It’s a win-win.”