Independence High School will reach out to a younger generation with a pilot program for seventh- and eighth-grade students next school term.

Principal Greg Hudnall received permission from the Provo City Board of Education Tuesday to initiate a program for the middle school kids in trouble.Hudnall said his approach would be one of taking students out who are not succeeding, repairing and building their self-esteem and returning them to the mainstream as soon as they are ready.

"We are not in the business of undermining the middle schools. They do a great job," said Hudnall.

But, he explained, his staff is geared and able to spend more one-on-one time with a student and concentrate on a positive self-concept while cutting the focus on academics down to the basics.

"We want to build a warm, fuzzy situation for them," said Hudnall.

Hudnall said right now the numbers are down at the alternative high school, so he has the space to offer to the middle school students. "We're offering the deal of the century," he said.

Each grade level would have a self-contained classroom and its own time schedule, keeping the students separate from the high school population.

A maximum of 20 students per grade would be accepted.

It will cost Independence High $50,000 a year to provide for the middle school students, using interns and aides for faculty.

"Sometimes we may only have four kids in a class, sometimes 15," he said, "It wouldn't make sense to have a full-time teacher sitting there for four kids."

Hudnall said transition training will be provided for the middle school faculty so they could help students coming back into the regular curriculum.