New, modest signs were added to the outside of a small room in the south end of campus reading, “Independent Learning Center”, but inside the room, the center was bustling with activity.
“We are currently at capacity,” said Matt Huiras, assistant principal, “I’ve had several referrals that we have had to start a waiting list for.”
The program, previously located in the Stuart Larson side of campus, has been offered at Lincoln for years. Students who cannot come to school on a daily basis, including traveling athletes, check in with teachers once each week. Online work is assigned and they are eligible to graduate from Lincoln without being in a normal classroom environment.
“Here you can keep going and you don’t have to wait for anybody because you can do it all by yourself,” said Willow Wright, a junior enrolled in independent learning. Wright is on campus almost everyday but still feels that independent learning works best for her. “I enjoy the [Independent Learning Center] alot. I’ve been able to work at my own pace” said Wright.
“Some of the classes are A through G so the kids can do more rigorous, high level work,” said Huiras, “It’s not a cake-walk as some kids try to go in thinking.”
While anyone can apply for independent study, the California Department of Education offers recommendations on who is most eligible, “Independent study programs are designed to help students who have health problems, are parents, are gifted, are working, or who find that regular classroom settings do not meet their needs.”
In order to join, a meeting with Huiras and a counselor is required. Students are required to show that they can work independently, but not necessarily through good grades. The class that most recently inhabited the learning center’s new room was the NJROTC program. That program was moved to the center’s old location on the Stuart Larson side.
“They still have to go to school six hours a day,” said Huiras, “They’re going to have to sit in front of their computer while they are not on campus, using their chromebooks to get their work done if they want to stay on track.”