Colbert County Schools Try New Program To Help Struggling Students

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Students who struggle to earn their high school diploma the traditional way now have another option in the Colbert County School system.

Last year, 12 students in the Colbert County school district didn't graduate.

“We have to build on student interest and their talents,” said Dr. Jeff Cornelius, Colbert County Schools assistant superintendent.

In a startup program between the college and Colbert County schools, educators have one goal -- to decrease the climbing dropout rates.

"Take some of the career tech classes, get involved in a trade, and also be able to take some classes on campus, and third, have a work component involved in the A.S.A.P. program -- Academic Skills at Work Program," said Cornelius.

The state granted the district a waiver request and now, students can gain one high school credit hour by taking three or four college hours.  In the past, students earned just a half high school credit.

"It’s about thinking outside the box and not thinking in this traditional mode that you've always been accustomed to," said Cornelius.

Also, Cornelius says students can work at their own pace in the core classes, with computer classes.

"Students need to have an option, whether it be a career pathway or some other option, if the four-year option is not what they choose to pursue because, what we ultimately want is successful citizens that are productive in society," said Cornelius.

To be eligible for the program, students must be lagging behind in at least two subjects.

For the first year, the program will be capped at 20 students.

Administrators are reviewing all the applications, and a decision will be made which students qualify for the program before the start of the school year.

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