Back to School: Alternative schools share same building

Both the middle and high school will share the same building but have separate entrances.

Fall River's two alternative schools are now under the same roof.

Both schools house kids who got off track somehow, maybe they got in trouble or need more one-on- one attention to learn successfully.

"It gives them the opportunity to get back on track, build that confidence so hopefully failure or dropout is never an option for them," said Principal Joyce Paulo of the Resiliency Middle School.

Paulo said it's important that middle school and high school students be kept separate, with entrances on opposite sides of the building, and differing start and end times.

"They're still childlike we forget they are children, they're in middle school so the programs that work for them don't work for our high school students," Paulo said.

The middle school just opened in February, and Paulo admits it might be a shock for students transitioning from state-of-the-art schools to the nearly 100-year-old building.

But that's why she's brought in alternative classes like culinary arts, martial arts, and CPR courses. She's also put an emphasis on hiring the right teachers.

"I feel that we have a lot of opportunities to make a difference," said Resiliency Middle School teacher Beth Rogers.

Rogers says she's drawn to this population of kids, and already saw a difference in her 8th grade students from just one semester last year.

"Individually we could see a lot of gains where students were feeling safe to answer questions and engage in activities they probably wouldn't have engaged in," Rogers said.

Sixteen of the 27 eighth grade students that graduated in the spring are back on track and will be returning to their regular district high schools this fall.

There is some concern that kids will be coming from these beautiful state of the art schools, get into trouble and get sent to this aging building.

Teachers here say they're doing what they can but they worry the aging building will affect an already fragile morale.