Schools want students to drop-in

Published 12:47am Saturday, February 11, 2012

Students at risk of falling behind in the Selma school system might get the push they need through a new software purchase.

During Thursday night’s regular meeting of the board, members voted unanimously to purchase credit advancement and credit recovery software for Selma High School and credit replacement software for Selma Middle C.H.A.T. Academy.

The software programs, interim superintendent Gerald Shirley said, would help students who have been unsuccessful in mastering content or skills required to receive course credit and earn promotion.

The programs would also provide drop-back-in services for students who dropped out of high school.

“Sometimes when you see a child is not mastering a course, they fail,” he said. “If you see a child is not mastering it, you can put them in credit recovery.”

High dropout rates, which include students that do not graduate with their original class, prompted officials with the Selma City School System’s Central Office to explore alternatives for struggling students, Federal Programs Coordinator Dr. Zanetta Ervin said. It also explored methods to help overachieving students continue to grow.

“This is by any means necessary to have a child finish high school,” she said. “Where a child used to sit in a classroom for 155 minutes to earn a unit, they do not have to do that anymore. And, with credit advancement they can go in and take this course if the child is gifted and smart. They can go on this program and they can CLEP out of courses.”

For students that struggle, Ervin said the programs offer them a way of retaining material that could be more conducive to their learning style and a better fit in the system’s budget.

“We have those that struggle, have fallen behind, or there may be a personality issue,” she said. “They don’t have to sit there for that 155 minutes as tight as dollars are now with the same teacher. Once they fail the course, they can go into what we call credit recovery and they can do it on their own pace before, after school or during the summer.”

Students also have the option of staying after school during the regular school year.

Representatives of the system researched other companies, but found these programs to be the best fit for the best price, Ervin said. The system paid as much as $300,000 in the past.

Title I High School funds for software would be $45,000 for 60 licenses or a three-year contract. Title II funds would be $5,000 for four days of professional development, and $15,000 for Title I Middle School software for 20 licenses or a three-year contract.

With so much available to students, Ervin said dropout rates should be impacted positively.

“There is no sense in a child failing a course,” she said. “There are just too many things out there for you to help them. With this program, if they come to school it’s a guarantee, but they can do the work at home too.”

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