The Muscatine Community School District announced changes to the East Campus program for the 2017-2018 school year.
Currently, East Campus students and teachers meet at the Muscatine Community College campus. Through the partnership, the high school students have access to the college science and computer labs. Since its inception, East Campus has become known for allowing students to learn in a nontraditional environment.
MCSD Superintendent Jerry Riibe explains, “Typically, kids that are at risk would be considered for the East Campus program as juniors. But we have come to realize that for some of these kids, that is too late.”
The high school implemented 9th Grade Academy last year. The program is designed to help at-risk students succeed in the high school setting. Students take classes in a more sheltered environment and are able to focus on their classes.
At the beginning of the current school year, 10th Grade Academy was introduced to keep those students on a successful path.
According to a letter issued to East Campus parents and students, “East Campus will not be centered at MCC next year.” MCSD is providing two main reasons for the change.
First, “Muscatine High School is moving to become a Diploma Plus school. In other words, in the future, our hope is all students will leave high school with a diploma and a certification, credential, or progress on a path toward continued education.”
The second reason is financial. “The school district is needing to find ways to continue programs and student supports and reduce our budget.”
The letter explains to parents and students that the “relocation of the East Program will mean some services are provided at the high school, some may be at MCC, and some in the community.”
Depending on the students’ individual education plans, students may take classes at the MHS campus or MCC campus, or participate in vocational training around the community.
Riibe explains, “It is not a cancelling of a program, but more of an evolution of the program.” In addition, MCSD plans to add seven mental health positions district wide, “ranging from guidance counselors, therapists, and teachers trained to work with students who may need some additional support.”
Riibe goes on to explain that mental health is a priority to the district for all students, those who lie in the at-risk category and those who do not.
Muscatine High School Counselors will work with current East Campus students.