4 districts that are expanding credit-recovery programs

From making study hall mandatory to revamping the traditional curriculum, leaders are better preparing high schoolers for graduation
By: | October 8, 2019
Lakota Local School District has one of the best credit recovery programs. The Career Readiness Academy there offers a small, personalized learning environment for students who need extra academic support. gettyimages.com: monkeybusinessimages

Questions loom about whether some students who take credit recovery programs are graduating without demonstrating vital competency and readiness.

In 2017, 2.1 million 16- and 24-year-olds were not enrolled in school and had not earned a high school credential, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Here are 4 of the best credit recovery programs that proactively keep students from falling behind with wraparound supports.

1. Personalized learning environment

In suburban Cincinnati, Lakota Local School District’s Career Readiness Academy offers a small, personalized learning environment for students who need extra academic support. 

Each Academy student follows a blended, individualized learning plan and works from the same curriculum that is followed in traditional Lakota schools, but in a shorter day.

Students must meet the same graduation requirements—and will receive the same diploma—as other district students.

The Academy features:

  • 15 hours of online activities per week
  • lessons on postsecondary vocational training and financial aid
  • three-hour learning sessions in either the morning or afternoon
  • three-hour online sessions for remote students who can come in one day a week or meet after hours with teachers
  • collaborative projects with teachers that align with state standards
  • presentations from experts and industry representatives
  • mock interviews
  • college tours

2. Virtual summer learning

Grandview R-2 school district’s Missouri Online Summer Institute (MOSI) offers flexible, student-centered, virtual learning that’s free and available statewide. Mentors provide technical support and general course guidance while advisors intervene when students fall behind or fail to submit assignments. For example, the institute has helped a homeless student who was living in his car find reliable internet access so he could complete online assignments.

Teachers, mentors and advisors stay in daily email contact with participating students to provide encouragement and assistance.

Students can:

  • work at their own pace
  • recover core credits lost during the school year
  • take courses not offered in their home districts
  • accelerate studies to make time for dual enrollment, work obligations and internships
  • choose from more than 100 courses, including electives and advanced placement

3. Required study hall

In California, Orestimba High School provides different study hall options for students from Newman-Crows Landing USD.

Tutoring takes place before and after school, and counselors meet with students regularly to check progress. The study hall blocks also provide time for teachers to meet, review data, discuss teaching strategies, set goals and check progress. 

These credit recovery programs include:

  • a study hall class that every Orestimba student takes to ensure they have designated time and support on campus to focus on coursework
  • a mandatory online credit-recovery program with a computer and Wi-Fi access for students not on pace to graduate
  • a structured study hall for students needing more supervision, with a better student-teacher ratio
  • 24-hour online access to credit recovery courses

4. Performance-based curriculum

Chugach School District in Anchorage, Alaska, transformed its traditional curriculum into a personalized, performance-based model after realizing students’ classroom struggles persisted after graduation.

Highlights of the model include:

  • students move through benchmarks toward a diploma from preschool to grade 12
  • students develop at their own pace and progress through 10 content standards after meeting 80 percent proficiency in each
  • teachers and staff provide individualized support and education through thematic, holistic lessons
  • teachers, students and parents regularly review each learner’s detailed transition and graduation plans—all with an eye toward success after high school

More information about some of the best credit recovery programs. 

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