North Pole alternative school plans on growing

Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) The North Pole Leadership Academy, a 40-student alternative high school, could reopen next year as a charter school with four times the number of students and twice as many grade levels.

Annie Keep-Barnes, one of two teachers at the academy now, said she hopes to have a draft charter turned in to the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District this month.

''We are really excited about it, and we are really supportive of it,'' said Sandy McGill, assistant superintendent for secondary schools. ''The charter school (philosophy) is one that is honored by our state and by the district as a very viable alternative for people.''

The new school would include three ''houses'' a 60-student middle school, a 40-student ninth grade and a 60-student high school for 10th- though 12th-graders, Keep-Barnes said.

The academy would need to find a new building for the additional students.

There is demand in the community for an alternative middle school and for different options for freshman, she said.

''It is a known statistic in this district that one third of ninth-graders do not complete their ninth grade year in a year,'' she said. ''What we see in our program is that problem is compounded as the years go by. You are forever playing catch-up.''

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