CENTRAL KITSAP — Central Kitsap School District is home to more than just traditional education options — the district also offers online education, off-campus and other alternative programs to meet the needs of students who thrive better in environments other than traditional high schools. And starting next year, they’ll be consolidated into one location tailored to the needs of those students.
This new location will be known as the Barker Creek Community School, a name agreed to at a recent CKSD board meeting.
“Currently, we have alternative west and alternative east programs that operate primarily out of portables,” said David Beil, district communications coordinator. “One of the things that our community (wants), they were hoping we could get our programs out of portables.”
The new location for alternative education will be in a district-owned building at McWilliams and Highway 303 in East Bremerton, which formerly was a call center. Since the district purchased the building specifically for this purpose, “staff and district leaders have worked with educational experts and architects to map out areas within the building’s 60,000 square feet” to ensure the environment fits the needs of the students.
Plus, with the planned construction of the new high and middle school campus, the programs in portables on that property would be interrupted anyway. So the district has been working this year to establish a single location for all the alternative education programs.
“This year, the programs are operating just as they were, no interruption to students, which has allowed this school year then for the planning and design, setting up the interior and space in the new (to us) building,” Beil said. “The current timeline is to have it ready for the first day of school for this coming school year.”
According to a CKSD press release, “consolidation was a small step in an initiative to provide more learning options, increase graduation rates and improve college and career readiness for hundreds of students.”
“In terms of space they get to learn in, it’ll be a huge improvement for them,” Beil said. “It’ll be a space designed specifically for their program. Whereas right now, it might be in a portable or a small space … they’ll have some great experiences in a space set up specifically for their program.”
The district is working closely with the alternative education teachers to ensure the new building will meet each students’ needs.
“One student may learn best in a smaller, more personal learning environment and take most classes at the school and one or two online,” the press release explains. “Another student could learn most subjects from a parent but take a math class on campus. Yet another could spend a morning at an internship with a community partner and attend classes in the afternoon.
“The goal is to tailor the school experience to each student’s needs.”
“Although learning experiences will differ at the school, the goal is to foster a sense of school community for students and families,” the press release states.
Beil said, “We’re really excited to offer the program in one location, and … that program is getting to do some pretty neat things as they plan for students.”
To learn more about Barker Creek Community School, visit ckshools.org.
Michelle Beahm is a reporter for the Central Kitsap Reporter and Bremerton Patriot. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.