The old Belvidere Endeavor Alternative High School building will see students once again this fall after school district leaders voted to close it in March.
The "STAR" Program, or 'Students Taking Academic Responsibility,' has been running out of Page Park School in Rockford. Its leaders decided it was time to move into Boone county as well.
"We're really excited to expand our offerings over here and be able to serve these communities that we maybe haven't been able to in the past, just due to distance and transportation issues," says Brendt Johnson, STAR Program Principal.
Once known as the Regional Learning Academy, STAR is a state funded program, ran by the Regional Office of Education. The alternative school serves students in Winnebago and Boone counties. Many of those young adults dropped out, or were expelled from public schools.
Students like Jake Swanson who wants to earn his high school diploma. "I'm kind of excited because it seems like it's not too hard, I can learn things a lot easier here, have more help, maybe get done without hearing kids in my ear constantly yelling and be just concentrated on what I'm doing," he says.
The program boasts a highly personalized learning environment, with only about 12 students per teacher.
It's my job to not only teach English but to empower them, they can take control of their own learning, their own education," says Stuart Schor, a STAR Program English teacher.
Students grades 6-12 can take anywhere from one semester up to 2 years of classes during the day. A night school option and a GED program are also available to high school aged students.
"And it's a by-case basis. We get them in, we help them get back on track, and then send them back into the public schools when they feel they're ready," says Johnson.
STAR Program classes begin August 19th. But enrollment will stay open all year long for anyone who decides to go back to school after the start date.
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