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Crane to become one-stop shop for non-traditional students
Crane school pic
Crane School will once again be transformed; this time the site will be home to a variety of the Turlock Unified School District’s non-traditional learning programs. - photo by Journal file photo

Non-traditional students will now have a place to work on their education at the Crane School site, which will be transforming into Turlock’s eCademy starting with the 2011/2012 school year.

“We can’t expect everyone to fit in a traditional public education system,” said Lacrisha Ferriera, Turlock Unified School District assistant superintendent for educational services. “We know there are students who need something different.”

Students who are in the independent study program, online education distant learning, e2020 program and ROP classes will start to be relocated to the eCademy site once renovations are completed to provide them a school site for their non-traditional needs.

The Turlock eCademy will offer independent study courses for seventh graders up to 12th graders with course offerings in the core academics, physical education and electives. The school will also offer home schooling for kindergartners up to the sixth grade in English language awareness, math, history, science, physical education, music and art. The high school e2020 program will also be available for credit recovery and distance learning. The school will also offer occupational classes for juniors and seniors in high school.

This is not the first time Crane School has been transformed to the needs of the district. The site was originally a neighborhood elementary school. Then it became a kindergarten only site, and most recently was the home of the Head Start preschool program.

Starting in August 2011, the first phase of transformation will be relocating students in the independent study program and online education distant learning with the e2020 program along with students at Freedom High School, Ferriera said. Freedom High students will no longer have their campus at Turlock High but will move to the new eCademy site.

The second phase will relocate students from kindergarten to sixth grade in the home school program to the eCademy site in January 2012 with ROP courses falling behind in the 2012/2013 school year.

To offer these non-traditional outlets, the district will be redesigning the Crane site for easier access and a new “face lift” to maximize the opportunity to learn at the campus, Ferriera said.

“It is going to be a hub of activity,” she said. “It will have a different feel and a different look.”

District staff had a community meeting on Aug. 24 where community members voiced their preference for the facility option three redesign that will cost $2.67 million with two new parking lots and some re-organization of the portable buildings.

The TUSD Board of Trustees voted on design two for the new makeover for the Crane School site at their Sept. 7 board meeting.

The second design will cost $2.65 million with one main parking lot to fit 43 cars and some re-organization of the portable buildings.

Total funding for the redesign of the school site will come from Measure Z bond funds and developer fees from Freedom High School totaling to $2.7 million, which will cover the costs of the redesign, said Ed Felt, TUSD deputy superintendent.

Yearly operating costs are expected to be around $696,000 with projected revenue of $635,148 from Average Daily Attendance funding from an expected 125 students from grades seven to 12. There is a difference of $60,852, but distract staff are expecting the Average Daily Attendance funding from the eCademy to make up the difference.

“The revenue will far exceed expenditures,” said Sonny Da Marto, TUSD superintendent. “There won’t be a deficit, there will be an excess.”  

District staff is hoping with this redesign and one-stop shop for non-traditional students they will keep more students and attract students from outside of the area, Ferriera said. They found that a lot of students were leaving the TUSD to go to other schools that offer more programs to help keep students up to speed with the standards.

In the 2009/2010 school year, TUSD lost 234 students in elementary school grades, 64 students in middle school grades and 146 students at the high school level, according to district staff reports.

“We want to create a program that will have substance to keep our students,” she said. “The bottom line is that we really want to provide an environment for students, especially nontraditional students, to succeed and reach their highest potential and individual achievements.”

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.