When Queen Creek High School junior Sheldon Moore has a question on one of his lessons, he doesn’t need to raise his hand. He can just zip his teacher an e-mail during class.
Moore is one of 12 students who enrolled in the school’s first alternative education program that opened Monday.
Two teachers monitor at-risk 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students who navigate through individualized, online courses in a computer lab at the school 7 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday.
Students can communicate with the teachers through a computermessaging system, but also can call the teacher over to their desk if they continue having trouble. Teachers can monitor students’ progress online and compare how much time a student spends on a lesson and how much of the lesson is completed.
"Theoretically, a student in here can learn more faster because a kid in a regular program is being guided through a lesson by their teacher," teacher Jay Roper said. "Here, someone who is rockin’ and rollin’ can do (one, two or three) lessons in one day."
Principal Angela Chomokos said the program targets students with disciplinary problems, children, school credit deficiency or jobs.
She said one student is required to attend the program due to disciplinary action, but some students — such as Moore — request the placement.
"Sometimes a traditional school does not fit the needs for all students," Chomokos said. "We have a variety of kids here for one reason or another are trying to get ahead."
"It seems like I get more work done," Moore said. "There is more help with the teachers because the class isn’t as big."
Moore, 16, said he was placed in an alternative high school program in the Chandler Unified School District for fighting. But after the new placement, Moore said he started to see his grades rise and he and his mother agreed the alternative programs worked best for him.
"We are doing good things with these kids. . . . Alternative doesn’t mean bad," Roper said.