Crest Learning Center is Mercer Island High School's alternative program. The staff of seven adults works to create a learning environment which meets the needs of a diverse population of about 115 students. The curriculum at Crest is designed to focus on the development of cognitive abilities, creativity, and essential skills. Curriculum is also delivered in a personalized way to meet students where they are and move them forward. Subject material is approached from an integrated perspective and hands-on activities are a part of many topics that are studied. Mornings at Crest revolve around two hour integrated courses, which emphasize language arts, history, current events, and visual arts. During the morning block all of the teachers are engaged in the instruction, remediation and evaluation of students. After lunch, students concentrate on activities that explore mathematics, science, horticulture, health, vocational skills, physical education and visual arts. We also offer two-hour integrated courses emphasizing language arts, history, and current events in the afternoon. Crest also provides a unique opportunity for students to take courses independently. Students working on independent courses typically have appointments with their teachers in the afternoon when the day classes are completed.
Crest Learning Center operates 11 months a year. The program offered during the extended school months of June and July are supported through student tuition. There are limited scholarships monies available to help those in financial need. The school is closed for the month of August.
The range of students attending Crest is wide, covering a full spectrum of academic abilities and learning styles. With the guidance of the staff, students design a school program that fits their individual needs. Some students, who have demonstrated strong skills and who wish to be independent learners, may design and explore materials or approaches not offered at the regular high school. Some students choose classes at Crest that foster the development of social and academic skills in a group setting. Some students combine a partial day at the regular high school with classes or independent work at Crest.
High-risk youth and reluctant learners have traditionally found success at Crest. The opportunity to form a close personal bond with a team of adults, the alternative and integrated nature of the course work, and the emphasis on personal as well as academic growth are all elements that contribute to the success of each student. It is the goal of Crest that students will complete the program feeling empowered, connected and good about themselves, and possessing skills that equip them to handle change, plan for the future, focus their energies and skills, attain their goals, and make a contribution to the social good.