High schoolers ‘Excel’ on campus

Rashay Reading, Staff Reporter

Excel Alternative High School, located in Black Hall 122, gives high school students that have trouble in a traditional learning environment a chance to complete all of their required credits to graduate.

COLLABORATION - Students complete assignments during class. Excel helps students who struggle in a traditional high school setting.
Alyssa Darby
COLLABORATION – Students complete assignments during class. Excel helps students who struggle in a traditional high school setting.

The program, run through the Ellensburg School District, has approximately 40 students from the high school, with students from freshman to seniors.

Jeff Ellersick, principal of Ellensburg High School, said that Excel was started around twenty-five years ago, and was a fully fledged program when he started work at the school.

The program’s curriculum is based on the learning styles of the students, many of whom find a regular school’s academics too challenging.

Ellersick said it is a smaller learning environment which, in turn, can help kids have flexibility in what they want to learn and how they go about learning that.

“The goals are to give kids a positive experience while they’re pursuing their high school diploma,” Ellersick said.

The program has a very good history of student success. Around 90 percent of students get everything they need in order to graduate on time.

“It’s really providing some alternative ways for kids to still get their diploma,” said Haley Naboychik, recently hired career and technical education teacher for the program. “For most of the kids here, the sit-in class isn’t working for one reason or another… so it’s really to get them the information that they need.”

This program has a lighter class load, no homework, shorter hours and the students stay in one classroom instead of moving around like students in a typical high school.

Mallory Philipp and Phoebe Ferguson, both seniors in high school, are part of the Excel program.

Philipp said that she experienced social anxiety when she attended Ellensburg High School during freshman year, and coming to Excel was one of the best decisions she has made.

“I did the high school for freshman and sophomore year and it was just really stressful,” Ferguson said. “Here I get good grades, there’s less to take in and I like how there’s not six different periods in different parts of the school, just this one room.”

A new lunch program was recently implemented so the students don’t have to walk back to the high school for lunch. Instead, they can remain on campus.

Ellersick believes the program will carry on throughout the years because of how much the students enjoy the program, and its high success rate.