The old Anderson Elementary School has students once again. However,
they are not youngsters learning their ABCs. Part of the campus is
now the West Orange-Stark Academic Alternative School. In the next
few months, the main part of the school will be remodeled to house
the West Orange-Cove district administration offices.
The changes are part of the $6 million bond issue voters approved in
Superintendent James Colbert, who took over the job in January,
wanted to use the Anderson campus. The school was closed last year
when the district opened a new elementary school. Also, the
superintendent wanted to separate the students who are in
alternative classes because of discipline problems. Previously, the
high school alternative students were on the main high school campus
and took the same buses as the regular students.
Colbert said the students will have a “very, very structured
The new alternative school will be in the one-story annex building.
Colbert said students will not be able to wear make-up or jewelry
and must adhere to strict dress codes. Girls must wear their hair
pulled back. If they violate the rules, they will have one day added
to their time at the school.
Also, the entrance has security cameras and the door automatically
locks. Each student must be buzzed inside. Then, each student will
pass through a metal detector and be searched every morning. “Each
student will be allowed one house key and no more than $5 in their
pocket,” he said.
Colbert hopes to schedule weekly evening classes on violence
conflict intervention and drug intervention. If a student attends an
hour-long class with a parent, a day of their assignment at the
alternative campus will be removed.
The stays at the alternative school will be 30 days, 45 days and up
to 60 days. Students must earn a certain amount of points to get
credit for serving a day. For instance, if a student comes in the
morning and does not meet the dress code, the student will be at the
school but will get no credit for attending that day.
Students must also complete a project in which they report why they
were put in the alternative school, what they have learned while
there, and what they will do to prevent being sent back.
Eventually, part of the main Anderson school building will be
demolished and the rest turned into the administration building. The
district will sell the current administration building on 15th
Street. That property is zoned commercial and backs up to 16th