By Julia Grippe
Holt Journal staff writer
HOLT — A successful first year for the Ed Trek alternative education program in Holt is coming to an end in June.
The Ed Trek program provides education for students who are either behind in classes or are at risk of not graduating.
Deputy Superintendent W. Scott Szpara said, “It’s been a good year. It’s been an interesting year.”
“Prior to this year we had an alternative program,” said Szpara. The alternative school program was called Holt Central High School. “We looked at increasing costs of the program but, more importantly, graduation. We decided it wasn’t high enough.”
“This year, we started out with an organization called Ombudsman and we have our own program that we call Ed Trek.”
A few years ago, Waverly Community Schools opened an alternative education center through Ombudsman, which led to a much higher graduation rate, said Szpara.
Szpara said Ombudsman also runs facilities in urban areas with a lot more students.
Szpara said the Ed Trek program is basically directed toward students that don’t fit into a traditional public school.
The Ed Trek program is primarily computer based but there is also a higher teacher-to-student ratio.
Szpara said an advantage of the Ed Trek program is students can go at their own rate. “There is a built-in incentive to work harder and longer.”
During this past year, Szpara said there were 11 graduates. Once those 11 students graduated, 11 were able to move into the program. There are still students on a waiting list to get in.
“Currently we have 93 students,” said Szpara. “We have the potential to take more students with a contract change.”
A third of the students go to school in the morning, a third in the afternoon and a third in the evening, said Szpara.
Holt central high school was open to any student whether they were Holt residents or school of choice students, said Szpara. After looking at the number of seats, Szpara said it has been decided that it will not be accepting any students from outside the district into the Ed Trek program.
“We are pleased at how it is operated and the acceptance,” said Szpara.