Indianhead Academy Alternative High School originally opened its doors in the fall of 2012. The concept of the high school was to help students who have struggled with the requirements of the traditional high school classroom. Principal Mr. Goto, who is retiring this year, spoke with us about how the school functions and what the staff do to help Indianhead Academy students.
Located in historic Slocum Hall, Indianhead Academy is just across the road from Weiser High School, where the old High School was back in the 1950’s and 60’s and now where the Snake River Heritage Center resides. Slocum Hall is named after Jane Slocum, one of the founders of the Idaho Industrial Institute in 1899. Slocum Hall now houses students striving to complete high school through an alternative approach.
When the pandemic began, like all other schools, Indianhead Academy was forced to perform strictly online, with as many as 19 students in a classroom. In a traditional setting, Mr. Goto explained that they try to limit classroom sizes to 16 students maximum. COVID-19 has shaken things up for the last year, but the teachers and students have done well with what they had to work with. Teachers and students are anxious to get back into the classroom, however. Mr. Benzie, who has been with the school since it opened, has played an integral part in educating and guiding students over the years. The school provides three classes per day that run about 1 hour and 50 minutes each. Part of that time is spent with direct instruction, either online or in-person (when able), and the other part students use to complete homework. Five sessions per year are offered with each one lasting about 7 weeks. Students have the opportunity to earn 15 credits per year, which can give them an advantage and catch up on classes they fell behind in at traditional school.
Mr. Goto shared that the students are ready to come back, and they are hoping to offer in-person classes soon. The school also provides breakfast and lunch along with breaks for the students. Students who fulfill the requirements of the state of Idaho can graduate from Indianhead Academy with a certified high school diploma. Mr. Goto is hoping to have a graduation at the end of the 5th session, as they will have more students ready to graduate. There is hope for having a more “normal” graduation ceremony in which students can send out invitations to family members and attend an in-person ceremony. Each student also receives the opportunity to speak in front of their graduating class and the entire audience if they choose to do so.
“Indianhead Academy Alternative High School is a School of Choice,” quoted from the Weiser schools website. To find out more information, please contact them directly: (208) 414-0617