DARIEN — Darien Public Schools has found its inaugural class for its new alternative high school program.

According to Darien High School principal Ellen Dunn, there are seven students who have committed to attending Fitch Academy, a high school program for students who need an alternative to a traditional high school setting due to long term medical conditions, attendance issues or social and emotional struggles

The intention of the program is to have students attend for a period of time until they can transition back to the traditional high school environment. The students are incoming freshmen and seniors. Dunn noted that number may change as the start of school approaches.

"I’m excited to tell you were making excellent progress," she said.

Dunn told the school board she had an informational session with students and their families on June 9 and is planning an open house at the Darien Library, which will be housing the program for its first year, on Aug. 14. Dunn said she’s been working with the library and the staff there is looking forward to housing and working with students.

"The support they’ve given us, the excitement they have on working with us on academic venture in support of students in need of a different academic setting, is extraordinary," Dunn said. "I really can’t imagine we could have our students in a better place surrounded by educators who are different educators, but educators for the whole community."

The school will be led by Darien High School English teacher Lynda Sorenson, who will still teach a course at the high school, but only during the second semester to allow her to spend first semester focusing on Fitch Academy. Dunn said she and Sorenson are putting together a program to incorporate students’ academic, social and emotional needs.

Dunn is also looking at other teachers to teach social studies, math, science and world language and will assemble a team within the next two weeks.

EKayata@hearstmediact.com; @erin_kayata