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An alternative way to learn: The real truth behind JCAC

All the names of students who attend JCAC are placed on a mural near the entryway.

Photo by: Sidney Johnson

All the names of students who attend JCAC are placed on a mural near the entryway.

Sidney Johnson and Emily Rush

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Jefferson City Academic Center is surrounded by misconceptions. “It’s for kids who are failing, only dumb people go to school there, that school is filled with dropouts” are the things that filter through the halls of Jefferson City High School. However, few of these rumors hold any truth.

 

About 180 students attend JCAC, grades 9-12, almost all of them being transfers from JCHS and other schools in the area. With the mission “to provide an alternative educational setting for student to graduate from high school,” JCAC provides a similar curriculum in such a way that fits the students needs more individually. Some students need more one on one time with their teachers. Most students that transfer to JCAC simply need a school where the classrooms are less cramped.

 

Deanne Fisher has run the school for 10 years. She knows the rumors that are spread about JCAC. However, Fisher addressed the fact that the curriculum is the exact same. Students choose to attend JCAC for many reasons. Some students struggle with anxiety in large groups of people.

 

“All the students that come to us need a smaller environment,” Fisher said.

 

The small environment allows teachers to better share their time with their students. Communication such as this is something that would not be available by a school with a much larger student body. As principal, Fisher makes an effort to have “drive by talks” with every staff member and student in attendance. These little talks range in time and depth, but are part of the friendly personal environment that makes the school what it is.

 

“Communication is something we will never be perfect at, but can strive to be better at,” Fisher said.

 

The school may sounds like a dream come true to some, but the process to apply and be accepted into JCAC is anything but. First, students must have a counselor or administrator’s recommendation. Then, students will take a test to see where they are academically. After they take the test, they have to go through an interview with Fisher. A parent or guardian is required to come. Then, the rest is up to the student. They have to take ownership of their situation and take the guidance that is provided by the teachers and staff to be successful.

 

For senior DeAndre Webster, this is his first year at JCAC and the environment to him is like a family. “Most teachers here are like a mom to me,” Webster said.

 

Within 45 years of teaching, Jennifer Milne says JCAC is her most rewarding job she has had. According to Milne, class size is a huge advantage because teachers can have a lot more one on one time with a student

 

“Class size is the difference in teaching,” Milne said.

 

The smaller environment at JCAC is a great way for kids to focus on graduating on-time, and if not earlier. The staff at JCAC works with students on a lot of social and emotional skills. No matter what the students have done or where they have been, JCAC welcomes them with open arms, just like they did with Webster.
“School is school, everyone goes for the same reason, to get an education,” Webster said.

JCAC 5

Students: David Maire, Makayla Huffman, and Jordan Bryan studying in a biology class.

JCAC 4

Photo by: Sidney Johnson
Teacher Lucinda Hampton works with students
Lindsey Henry and Deante Wilder in class.

Triston Nanney

Photo by: Sidney Johnson
Senior Triston Nanney types away on some homework at one of the computer stations.

JCAC 2

Photo by: Sidney Johnson
JCAC senior DeAndre Webster works in class to get all of his credits in by the end of the year.

Ms. Brown's Class

Photo by: Sidney Johnson
Teacher Carla Brown reads aloud to her class.

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An alternative way to learn: The real truth behind JCAC