, Muskogee, OK

March 21, 2013

Hilldale to set up alternative ed

Program could be ready on campus by next school year

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Hilldale students could attend an alternative education program at a Hilldale school campus next school year.

“The alternative school is intended for students with different kinds of needs,” said Hilldale Superintendent Kaylin Coody. “These could be students who have had different life experiences and they’re not interested in extracurricular activities. This may mean they have to work or they have a child or they just need to get through school. Or maybe the student has had some kind of discipline issue and we have to remove them from the general population.”

The Hilldale Board of Education agreed recently to establish an alternative program on the campus.

Hilldale works with other area schools in a cooperative alternative education program. Other schools in the program are Braggs, Haskell, Midway, Okay, Oktaha and Porter. Midway is the lead education agency in the cooperative. The alternative program is housed at Muskogee County Council of Youth Services (MCCOYS).

Midway Superintendent John Truesdell said he had heard Hilldale was considering setting up its own alternative education program. He said it could hurt the cooperative if Hilldale pulls out.

“They have been a big contributor,” Truesdell said.

MCCOYS Executive Director Mark Winters said he will meet with school superintendents to see what could be done.

Winters said MCCOYS contracts with the co-op to house the students and provide transportation and counseling. The co-op pays for the teachers he said.

Coody said Hilldale officials want to have an on-campus alternative program because “we want more involvement with our students.”

“Some of the board members talked with me about it and the staff talked with me about it,” she said.

Coody said Hilldale has had up to 22 students in the cooperative alternative program “to as low as a couple of kids.”

She said she expects the Hilldale alternative program to start with eight to 12 students.

“We want to start out small so we could provide support,” she said.

Coody said the program would be held four nights each week.

“We hope to use our current teachers, but if we need new staff we’re open to that,” Coody said.

She said the district will advertise for a part-time administrator for the school.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or