Tahoe City’s Cold Stream Alternative School selected by U.S. News andamp; World Report | SierraSun.com

Tahoe City’s Cold Stream Alternative School selected by U.S. News andamp; World Report

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunJill Zapata of Coldstream Alternative talks with junior Alec Griffith about his English paper at the school Tuesday.

Cold Stream Alternative in Tahoe City was recognized as one of Americas Best High Schools in U.S. News andamp; World Reports second annual list. I am very pleased that Cold Stream Alternative has been selected as one of the Best High Schools across the country for 2009, said Jane Loomis, the schools principal. The teachers and students deserve the recognition and the award.According to the magazine, the award recognizes three categories of distinction: Gold, silver and bronze. The analysis is based on standardized test performance; proficiency rates of all students, including the least advantaged, and challenging college-ready curriculum. As a bronze medal recipient, Cold Stream was the only Nevada County award winner in the annual U.S. News andamp; World Report survey.The U.S. News andamp; World Report worked hard to identify the best schools in the country, said Steve Jennings, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District superintendent. It is indeed an honor for Cold Stream Alternative School to receive a bronze medal from them. Cold Stream is a unique alternative program that allows students to receive an education through independent study courses. This allows many students who otherwise wouldnt be able to attend a traditional school to access quality education.More than half of Cold Streams students are full-time teens who flourish in an independent study environment. Additionally, seniors at either North Tahoe High School or Truckee High School who are in danger of not graduating can supplement their class load with Cold Stream Alternative School curriculum. Conversely, students who want to graduate early can take additional credits at Cold Stream. The schools independent study curriculum is ideal for students who are involved in competitive sports, such as ski racing, which demands frequent out-of-town travel. Cold Stream also fills an important niche for students involved in the Regional Occupation Program and the Truckee Fire Science Program.Cold Stream English and social studies teacher Jill Zapata was pleased with the award and added she wasnt even aware the school was on the magazines radar. The six-year Cold Stream veteran said educational research shows many students thrive in the kind of one-on-one environment the school provides. Its important to provide options for these students, noted Zapata. For some, the day-to-day, regular high school schedule does not work for them. In the future Id like to bring in more project-based and community-based learning into the curriculum.After six years at the school, Zapata said she now has several seniors who shes had since they were freshmen.We know each other pretty well now, said Zapata, who focuses on literacy across the curriculum.