ReBoot program discussed at BOE meeting

Elmore County Alternative School Principal Bill Bergeron talks about the proposed ReBoot program that is intended to solve Elmore County Public Schools’ issue of overage students in local middle schools. (Amalia Kortright/The Herald)

Elmore County Alternative School Principal Bill Bergeron gave a presentation on the Overage Middle School Program, also known as “ReBoot,” which will likely be implemented in the coming weeks, at the Monday board of education meeting.

Bergeron said the Overage Middle School Program, also known as “ReBoot” focuses on students that are considered overage in their grade level and aims to get them caught up academically and able to graduate.

“I get kids that are 16 or 17 years old that are coming from the middle schools, and they were going to become dropouts. That hurt my graduation rate,” Bergeron said. “Just like you reboot a computer when you have a problem, we want to allow these kids to reboot their education, and get caught up to where they have a chance to succeed at the high school level.”

According to Bergeron, Elmore County Public Schools have 25 students who are at least two years behind their cohorts’ grade level. He said having students that are much older than their peers poses a safety risk and can cause disciplinary issues.

Additionally, Bergeron said many of the overage students read at a low level, are “hopelessly” behind academically and have special education needs.

Bergeron said one teacher and an aide will preside over the ReBoot program and work to identify each overage student’s academic level to advance them to an appropriate grade level in the four core subjects. He said students will be in a reading class for at least an hour.

Bergeron also said students who are supposed to be in the 10th and 11th grades will attend the Elmore County Technology Center, and most will participate in construction classes.

Over the course of the 30-day ReBoot program, Bergeron said student have to consistently perform at an 85 percent success rate, or they will have to start over from the beginning.

According to Bergeron, ReBoot will utilize the “Step program,” which will grant privileges to students as they progress. He said they will start out in cubicles and earn the privileges of learning in a classroom with their peers, eating lunch with their peers and going on field trips before moving back to the school for which they’re zoned on a 30-day probation period.

Bergeron said the program would also include individual and group counseling from a licensed professional counselor, substance abuse treatment and the addition of cubicles to the ones that currently exist at the school.

Superintendent Richard Dennis said the BOE’s goal is to ultimately “put (the program) out of business.”

“We don’t want behind students,” Dennis said. “We’re working on revamping our (Response to Instruction) program so we don’t have students reach that level of being two to three years behind or more.”