Prairie Delta is a program of Prairie High School, formerly known as Prairie Alternative High School. Many people are not aware of the purpose of Prairie Delta as one way to experience the College Community District. The goal at Delta is to provide a different high school experience for any student while still maintaining the high academic standards at the high school but delivering it in a smaller, more personalized format.
Delta serves any student freshman- senior who may be credit deficient for a variety of reasons, a student who wants to graduate early, wants something different in their learning or to get more one on one instruction from a teacher. Paige Richey, a student at Delta said “the pace of the high school wasn’t right for me, I didn’t like big class sizes.” Class sizes are increasing as “high school’s are just getting so big and some kids just don’t care for that,” Bridgette Andersen, a teacher at Delta shares.
One common misconception is that Delta is a separate high school. However, Delta is a program of Prairie High School. Students who attend Delta are required to complete 24 credits as well as meet test requirements and do a senior presentation like any other student at Prairie. All students are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities, dances, and all opportunities at the high school. Students are also able to take classes not taught at Delta back at the high school.
Another misconception is that Delta is a behavioral program. Jacob Wiggins, a student at Delta said, “over here it’s less complex… less drama than the high school.” Students do not receive a separate diploma as they might at other alternative programs and participate in the high school graduation. “Some people think it’s a negative thing to come to Delta, it really isn’t. Kids that are completely normal come over here. It [Delta] isn’t just filled with a bunch of rejects, just some kids who want or need a little extra help,” Delta student Tucker Mutert says.
For the students that attend, the structure is something that they benefit from. There are fewer transitions with smaller class sizes but more flexibility in the way they learn. Due to the smaller class sizes, teachers are able to understand the student more and tailor the learning to them individually. “At the high school, I was just winging it, I didn’t understand, I probably wouldn’t be able to graduate but this program helped me out alot.” Students are exposed to a variety of ways to learn throughout the day including typical classes with teachers, through online learning, or in project based learning. Whether it be online or face to face collaboration.
As for post high school plans, attending Delta versus Prairie High School does not set a student back at all. For some students like Jacob, they are able to graduate early. Andersen said that another goal of Delta was to “increase the high school graduation rate,” since it is “hard to have a successful life without a diploma. ”
Overall, Delta is providing a different high school experience for students in a more personalized format. With the benefits of this different high school experience, graduation rates are increasing and more students are learning better even if it means at their own pace.
Photo Credit: Steve Doser