Students get a second chance

Published 9:08 pm Thursday, January 29, 2009

Selma High School wants to give students a chance to recover credits without attending summer school.

The credit recovery program, which will begin Monday, allows students to master a particular part of a course through a computer-based program that they failed earlier.

Students who receive a grade between 40 and 64 in a class must complete four out of seven possible lab hours each week to remain eligible for the program, which the school system offers for free.

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After the course work is completed, students who receive a grade of 80 or higher will have their previous failing grade changed to a 71, or a C.

School officials hope this program will encourage students to stay in school. Selma City Schools Title I coordinator Dr. Zanetta Simmons-Ervin said completing the program might not be easy, but will be worthwhile.

“What does it cost you?” she asked a group of parents and students gathered in the cafeteria. “Your time, your effort. You got to put some elbow grease behind this.”

The school will accept 60 students into the program the first two weeks to work out the kinks. After that initial two weeks, any student at Selma High may attend.

Students must complete an application, which requires parental consent, and speak with their guidance counselor before entering the program. When they are accepted, students can work at their own pace as long as they complete the minimum requirement of four hours each week.

NovaNet, a teaching program, will keep track of a student’s progress, attendance and time.

“We want consistency,” Simmons-Ervin said. “Now that’s just fair.”

Selma High School will open labs Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and Tuesday through Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Superintendent Dr. Austin Obasohan noticed NovaNet’s success while he worked in North Carolina. He recognized a need for a credit recovery program in Selma so he approached Simmons-Ervin with the idea.

Obasohan considers it an investment in the children’s future. He cautioned parents and students that the program would be challenging, but encouraged them not to make excuses.

“Please do not buy into the excuse that our children can’t do it,” Obasohan said. “You know what? They can.”

Simmons-Ervin said the program might lack the bells and whistles of other computer programs, but its effectiveness more than makes up for it.

“It’s strictly about teaching,” she said.

And that is the bottom line, according to Selma High Principal Wanda McCall.

“Whatever means necessary to get what we need for our students at Selma High School,” she said.