Selective School

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Some students had to leave their district school because of poor attendance, academic or behavior problems, but during passing time at Emergency Bay, it's hard to believe you're among middle school boys.

Assistant principal of curriculum, John Cannon, says the students live up to the expectation set for them.

"We do hold pretty high behavioral expectations of the boys and they appreciate that. They like a structured, quiet environment in which they can get the most done academically that they can."

Students rotate around four classrooms for 90-minute periods in one building connected by a commons area. There are no hallways or community bathrooms and the students eat right in the commons area.

Principal Alan Comerford says this "school within a school" eliminates the distractions that hinder the students in the first place.

"There are about 100 students in each learning community, with 10 adults minimum in the learning community."

About 100 middle school-aged boys currently attend Emerald Bay Academy, a public school run by a private company called Community Education Partners. That will go up to 200 middle and high school boys and girls by next fall.

While the goal is to move the students back to their district school, it's not only books and lectures in these classrooms.

"We also work with them on their social skills. They play chess daily in their math class, which promotes friendly competition, so when they go back we want them to be successful in all kinds of ways, not just academically."

Even though Emerald Bay is a public school run by a private company, the students still have the same curriculum as the rest of the district.