By Chris Kieffer
SHANNON – Shannon High School students who fall behind academically now will have a new tool to help them catch up to their peers.
The Lee County School District last week approved a credit-recovery policy. It will allow students who have failed a class or a state test to take an online course through the company Odysseyware.
“We see students slip farther and farther behind, and we thought we needed this to get them back on track,” said Shannon Assistant Principal Dusty Kelly.
The program costs $13,000 and was bought by federal funds available to Shannon High as a result of its low graduation rate – 54.7 percent in 2012. It will be available at Shannon High, although Shannon students also will have access to it at the district’s alternative school.
Students will work on the courses after school. If they complete the required work and pass the needed tests, they can earn credits. It only is available to those who have failed a course and can not be used to help someone graduate early.
“We don’t want this to take the place of a teacher,” Kelly said. “We want to use this to catch them up. There are quizes, tests, essay questions. It is just as hard as a regular class.”
Lee County Assistant Superintendent Coke Magee said it can be an important dropout-prevention tool. One of the top factors cited by students who have dropped out is that they fell so far behind they felt overwhelmed, he said.
Shannon students normally can earn eight credits a year on the school’s block schedule. Through the credit-recovery program, they will be able to take one additional course each semester.
The program also can be used to make up courses during the summer. The district does not currently have a summer school program.
“If this program can keep them with their class, we feel we’ll be more successful keeping them in school and getting them to complete,” Magee said.
The school will begin using the program when students return to class in January. Participants can log-in on any school computer and can also work on lessons at home. They will have to take quizzes and tests at school.
It will be available for core classes. Participants will start the course with a pre-test. Their lesson then will be structured to focus on the skills where they are deficient.