By B.C. Manion
It starts with a failed class, or two.
Before long, a struggling student no longer wants to go to school because there’s no way he or she can catch up and catch up with his or her graduating class.
Pasco County Public Schools wants to put an end to that scenario.
That’s why the school system launched a district-wide initiative this year aimed at helping students graduate with their class.
Students who have failed a class can make up that lost ground in the district’s credit recovery program, said Ramon Suarez, supervisor of the district’s Graduation Enhancement Program.
The district tested out the idea at four pilot high schools for two years before making it a countywide initiative this year, Suarez said.
“We’re trying to maximize the opportunities for students to graduate with their class,” Suarez said. “If a student fails a course, he has an opportunity to catch up.”
The district wants to help students before they veer off course so far that they don’t think there’s a way to recover, Suarez said.
Each high school across Pasco County has a computer lab where students who have failed a class can take an online course to catch up, Suarez said. That course can be taken during the school day and there’s also an after-school option, he said.
Students take the courses online, but there’s also a teacher in the lab to ensure that the students are progressing.
“The teacher has to open the quiz,” Suarez said. “Once they (students) take the quiz and they score high enough on it, they move on to the next level.”
The program goes beyond sheer academics, Suarez said. It also addresses the social and emotional aspects of the student.
Often, the students who need to take courses over are smart enough to pass, but have other issues, Suarez said. There may be problems at home, or they may have had to skip school to help the family financially, he said.
The credit recovery program aims to help students be motivated to attend school and be successful.
“It’s about connection with the students,” Suarez said.
Anyone wishing additional information about the program should contact his or her high school’s guidance staff, he said.
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