Walla Walla Valley Academy Alternative Learning Center

July 01, 2003 | Cheryl Wren

It’s about each student’s potential, whether high achievers or those who struggle academically. Many schools boast about the students who excel academically, winning awards and scholarships, and we, too, have our share of shining pupils at Walla Walla Valley Academy (WWVA). However, that’s not the complete picture.

WWVA focuses on meeting the needs of students at all learning levels. The school opened the Alternative Learning Center (ALC) in 1991 to assist students with difficulty learning through traditional methods. Students, teachers and parents work together on developing an educational plan to meet each student’s needs. “The goal is to help these students experience academic success,” explains Bobbie Fleck, M.Ed., ALC founder and director.

Many students struggle with traditional instructional methods and need just a little extra assistance. Others require testing, assessment and a personalized academic plan. Terry Waterbrook, also a certified teacher, assists Fleck in working with an average of 30 to 35 students each year through the ALC.

“I’ve known for years my daughter’s learning process was a real struggle for her, and for the first time a teacher helped her understand her challenges, and she is doing better,” shared a mother of a current student. “What I appreciate about this program is that someone is dedicated to ensure that no student falls through the cracks.”

Fleck has established a learning program at Clara E. Rogers Elementary School that makes the transition into high school easier for students. She has also developed strong, working relationships with local public schools, the community college and other colleges over the past 12 years. She served on a committee that developed a manual, “Teach to Reach,” to provide NPUC teachers with a user-friendly tool to help students who are struggling in various educational areas.

This program also offers post-high school job placement and training and works with colleges and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to meet students’ future educational and employment needs.

“My son was tested, diagnosed and assisted while a student at WWVA. He recently was accepted into medical school, and I attribute his success to this program,” shares another mother.

Though two other schools provide some services and testing, WWVA is the first school in the North American Division to run a bona fide alternative learning program and is the only school in the North Pacific Union Conference with a full-time employee devoted exclusively to alternative learning. “My mission is to see a special education program throughout the Seventh-day Adventist education system around the world,” says Fleck.

The WWVA staff strives to provide every opportunity to help a student achieve his or her highest potential. Through compassionate and competent teaching, we seek to prepare students for Christ’s second coming by instilling in each a love for God and a love for learning, for life and for service.