R5 Program

R-5 is a state approved Alternative Cooperative Education school for students 16 years of age or older. ACE is a career preparation program that combines academics and workplace skills. Students attend academic classes from 7:50 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. daily. In the afternoons, students must either have a job, a pre-approved service learning experience with a not-for-profit organization, or enroll in an approved vocational/technical program such as WCCC or Career Center. Each of these will earn elective credits toward a diploma. All goals and objectives meet or exceed District 51 standards. No transportation is provided by District 51. (Grades 10 -12)

“Students and Jobs”

A key part of the Alternative Cooperative Education program at R-5 is for students to maintain a vocational experience for at least fifteen hours a week. With the teenage unemployment rate as high as it has been since the government started keeping statistics in 1948, this may be a challenge for some students, particularly those who are sixteen. However, a persistent job search can be rewarding.

Students will need to remember that seeking the first job means that the result is NOT the job that he or she will have for life. Jobs that require low levels of skill usually are found in fast food restaurants where employers work to train new employees. Most employers in this market are unlikely to invest in training time until there is a reasonable expectation of hiring employee who will stay with them after they reach 18 or graduate. The value in the first job comes from the work ethic that can be developed during a stint on the job. The communication and worker qualities that young workers can develop will foster increased competency for future jobs.

So how to get that first job? While on-line applications are common, these applications often are filtered, leaving out younger workers especially in a market where plenty of older workers are seeking employment. Take the time to visit sites and filling out the applications immediately is an effective way to make an impression on the employer. Students should bring a list of critical information such as contact information of references, accurate home address, and phone numbers. A black or blue pen and a firm writing surface is helpful. Turning in one or two completed applications an afternoon is far more effective than collecting a dozen applications and returning them haphazardly.

Volunteering will also meet the requirements for work experience. Treating a volunteering position the same as a job is difficult, but important. Students will earn elective credit for their vocational experiences, so the first hour teachers, also called work coordinators, will check volunteers the same as working students. The work coordinators will support the student as he or she grows on the job, ensuring that learning life skills develop during the experience.


In September 2009, several R-5 students began construction of a raised flower bed next to our building. The project was conceived to complement the newly landscaped 7th St. and retain the historical theme of the downtown location of R5 High School. Planting of the flower bed took place during the last week of the school year when Career Center supplied a willing group of students with suitable plants. Although the project took longer than anticipated, the results turned out to be well worth the effort as seen in recent photo below. (Now what did we do with the Weed Eater?)

Many thanks to the following students Lincoln Folkers, Zack Estes, David Johnston, Tyler Johnston for the construction and Micah Christopher, Elise Snydstrup, Michael Harrison, Chrissy Grace, Jesse McGraw and Vincent Gurule for the planting. (Apologies if I left your name out).

R. Sherrill Landscaping Coordinator

Quarterly Science Center Field Trips


In the fall of 2010, science teacher, Bob Sherrill, escorted fourteen R5 science students to the John McConnell Math & Science Center on September 1 to listen to Melissa Jefferson present on the study of Apiology, the study of honey bees . Ms. Jefferson, a bee keeper in the Grand Valley, discussed bee keeping, impacts on society and food production. After the discussion students went into the “Hands On Learning Center” for math and science where, in addition to many other exhibits, an active bee colony under Plexiglas is available for students to observe the bee society and behavior. More visits are scheduled this month and the rest of school year. Please help support this facility by going to their website at http://www.mathandsciencecenter.org/ .

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