Alternative high school program at Riverhead could start with up to 70 students

An alternative high school that would operate in the afternoon is in the works at Riverhead High School, Superintendent Dr. Augustine Tornatore said at the Nov. 9 school board meeting.

The alternative high school has been under discussion since this summer and is designed to “help some of our at-risk students,” the superintendent said.

Program hours would be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the high school building, Tornatore said.

According to the National Center for Dropout Prevention, the Alternative Schools program serves at-risk youth and provides an opportunity for students who are not succeeding or do not have credits for graduation, but want everything likewise stay in school and graduate.

“We were really hoping that we would be able to launch it at the start of the second quarter, but we want to do it right, so we are more methodical rather than rushing,” he said.

Mr. Tornatore relied on his own professional experience as well as the cooperation of some of his colleagues to develop the program, he said.

“Fortunately, I was the principal of an alternative high school, so I was able to work with our assistant superintendent and also our high school principal to seek to develop the program,” he said.

Two assistant directors are reviewing the transcripts of 71 students who may be eligible to join the program and talking with their families to consider options.

Additional staff to work in the program are being sought, he said.

“It will take some time before we get to where we would like it to be, but we want to be able to serve all of our students, including those who may not be successful in the current setup,” said Mr. Tornator. .

He said more information will be shared with the public when it becomes available.