“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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October 6, 2021

Accelerated Learning Academy to Move into Former Salt River High School Campus

By Dodie Manuel

The Accelerated Learning Academy (ALA) is preparing to move into the former Salt River High School this winter. ALA staff have been preparing to get the school ready for students to return to class in the new location after the winter break. 

“ALA staff will be moving over to the new location during winter break, and if everything goes well, we will be starting our second semester of school there,” said Exceptional Education Director Victoria Corlett. “We are putting in new carpet and new technology and updating the fire alarm system and some of the equipment in the cafeteria because some of the items have become out of date.”

Corlett and Salt River Schools Alternate Site Principal Jama Nacke are excited about the move because it will give ALA students and staff more room and better amenities. Currently, the ALA is working out of portable trailers and has limited space for class activities. Some classes have to share the same classroom and some have to work on their activities outside in the grass. 

“We have a Native Culture class sharing a classroom with another class,” said Nacke. “This move is giving them the opportunity to have their own classrooms. They will be able to utilize the art room for the Native Culture projects. It’s letting everyone spread out that way and utilize the resources that are available there.”

ALA capacity is currently capped at 50 students. With this move, ALA staff hope to be able to admit a few of the students who are currently on the waiting list. 

ALA is a charter school that helps students ages 16 to 21 graduate and get their high school diploma. 

“Our students are those that for some reason dropped out of school and now they want to come back and receive their high school diploma,” said Nacke. “So, they come to us with all of their credits; some come with only two or three credits. The majority of our students are 18 or so; about half are minors and the other half are adults over 18 who are working hard to complete their high school education.”

Students must have either missed their graduation date or fallen behind a certain number of credits to get accepted into the ALA. 

“It takes a lot of courage for a young person to walk back in and try again,” said Nacke. “We work really hard to build positive relationships with the students so they feel comfortable raising their hands in class, asking for help or staying after school; all of that kind of supports that they may need.”

“It’s been a really successful program; it’s been here a really long time and it’s a program that fills an important niche within alternative school and an important niche in many communities, and this one is no different,” said Nacke about the success of the ALA. “Life happens to families and children, and sometimes the regular high school track just doesn’t work out. It’s been a really successful model for us. We have a super-dedicated staff, we know all the kids really well, and they get the one-on-one help they need every single day in all of their classes.” 

The new location also will provide the students with their own cafeteria, health office, child care and a workout room for the physical education classes. These facilities are limited or unavailable in the current location.

For more information on enrolling in the Accelerated Learning Academy, call (480) 362-2130.