Community day schools’ future discussed today
Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District officials are still hoping to open a community day school in the district after the attempt earlier this school year to house the program on the Tahoe Lake Elementary School campus was blocked by protesting parents.
At a special board meeting this afternoon, TTUSD board members will be asked to submit a waiver request to the state to allow the district to place a community day school on an elementary campus. The district hopes to have two community day schools with no more than 15 students in each program. Truckee Elementary School has been identified as one site location.
The California Education Code requires that a community day school serving grades 7-12 shall not be situated on the same site as an elementary, middle, junior high or comprehensive senior high, opportunity, or continuation school.
But district officials say a community day school in TTUSD will be to help seventh, eighth and ninth-graders who are not keeping up academically with their peers or may be “slipping through the cracks.” The idea is to place these children in a small class on an elementary school campus to help build their self-esteem.
“In our case, the necessity to house it (a community day school) on an elementary campus is two-fold,” TTUSD Superintendent Pat Gemma said. “One is there is no other site available. Second, I think it’s necessary for these middle school students to be on an elementary school campus where they are needed … where they see themselves as leaders.”
Gemma explained that the community day school the district is proposing would not house students who have discipline problems or who are considered violent or disruptive.
The district has a court school for the latter that is run by Placer County. Students from TTUSD who are considered violent, disruptive and under court mandates are referred to the county court school.
A district-level referral panel will recommend students for the program, said Gemma.
Previous opposition to the community day school from Lakeside parents stemmed from the feeling that that the students placed in the program would be a bad influence on their elementary-aged children.
“The connection of these kids with elementary kids is critical for their self-worth and self-esteem,” Gemma said.
So far, the district has not had opposition to placing the program on the Truckee campus.
If the board agrees to submit a waiver, the State School Board of Education will be asked to approve the districts request to house the program on an elementary school campus.
A public hearing on the issue will begin at 2:15 today in the district office board room on Donner Pass Road in Truckee.
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