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TUSD looks at building Bridge to at-risk students
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The Turlock Unified School District could be reaching out to at risk-youth in the next school year — and saving money in the process. 

At Tuesday's board meeting, trustees considered starting a “Bridge” program for 9th and 10th grade students who have been unsuccessful in the comprehensive high school setting. Students in the Bridge program would be provided a blend of traditional classroom instruction and online learning within a modified schedule.

“There is currently no alternative setting for placement of 9th and 10th grade students who are in need of direct instruction,” said Interim Superintendent of Education Services Dana Trevethan.  “This year we lost 111 students in our district to John B. Allard [alternative school].”

Under the Bridge program, Turlock and Pitman high schools would each have a classroom that accommodates 30 students, with 15 9th grade students attending two hours per day in the afternoon and 15 10th graders attending three hours per day in the morning.  The program would provide a combination of direct instruction, independent study, online learning, and tutorial support. 

“There will be a designated classroom in each campus in order to prevent disruption for student arrival and departure,” said Trevethan.

The Bridge program would cost the district up to $180,000 and generate anticipated annual revenue of $204,900.

“It is important that we have a program in place for these students,” said Trevethan.  “This program will give students the opportunity to get caught up with their credits.  These are good kids who have made poor choices.  It is our duty to get them caught up and direct them towards the right path of their education.”

The proposed independent study program was met with positive feedback from TUSD board members.

“It’s a win-win situation for the district,” said Trustee Harinder Grewal.  “We will help the students and get more revenue for our district.”

Trevethan said she hopes that through the Bridge program students will return to a comprehensive high school that meets their behavioral and academic needs.

“This recovery program will present the students with opportunities to continue on with their education,” said Trevethan.  “This is exactly what they need.”

The board of trustees took no action on the proposed program at Tuesday's meeting.