Targeted Solutions for Students Not Attending High School

February 14, 2011 at 5:26 PM Leave a comment

I am interested in working on alternative education programs and gathering data to assess their effectiveness. The concept is summarized below…

 This proposal seeks to explore ideas for students who have experienced difficulty succeeding in traditional high schools. The model is more of a program than a school, but it might fit into a transfer school or borough center. Initially, my program would target one of three cohorts of high school students:

  • Students who have earned most of their high school credits but have one or two specific content area deficits preventing them from graduating (e.g., math or science),
  • Students who function below grade level as a result of cumulative absenteeism and would benefit from a period of remedial skill development to catch up with their peers, or
  • Students (ELL) who have delayed enrollment in high school and have little experience with national or local curriculum frameworks.

 While many students initiate their return to school, I am interested in developing a small collection of programs and recruiting students who have not been attending school to test their effectiveness.

Academic programs would comprise short cycles of full-time immersion in a content area. Each curriculum would be tailored for remediation and comprehensiveness to meet the needs of students. In addition to attending classes, students would have the option of spending part of each day either pursuing online course work and independent assignments or getting more individual instruction in a skills lab environment.

Students who have been caught up in failure cycles need multiple opportunities for success early in the change process. Compact course modules allow then to accumulate credits relatively quickly and to experience deeper understanding of content that once mystified them. From an instructional perspective, content focus allows for greater flexibility and creativity within the curriculum while meeting specific learning needs.

Both the remedial skills program and the ELL program would focus on universal skill sets for content areas. The first would create a bridge to the curriculum by honing prerequisite skills. The latter would introduce the overarching goals and common skill sets for each content area within the context of advanced cultural studies in the student’s native language.

My reasons for creating a program rather than a school are twofold. First, the immersion courses would target relatively homogeneous groups of students to solve specific needs – a model that would be unsound for education in general. Secondly, traditional high schools have more options for elective courses and fine approaches to college preparation. The goal of my program would be to set the students on a path to success that would allow them either to earn their diplomas relatively quickly or earn enough credits to return to high school in good standing to complete their studies.

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Entry filed under: HS Re-engagement. Tags: , , , .

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