Title

Encouraging and Rewarding Persistence and Proficiency in At-Risk Students

Location

Harborside Center East and West

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

My proposal relates to strands I. & II. It specifically addresses the importance of curriculum as well as setting up an environment that motivates at-risk students to perform well. Improved performance increases the student’s self-esteem and reduces the likelihood of them dropping out of school.

Brief Program Description

Assessing the at-risk student’s individual needs and creating an environment that sets the student up for success are the first steps in getting them moving in a positive direction. In this session you will be given different strategies that have proven successful. In addition we will discuss the benefits of online curriculum as it pertains to credit recovery/acceleration programming.

Summary

White’s Jr./Sr. High School is a public school that is located on a residential campus. Six years ago we used stimulus money to pilot a Credit Recovery/Acceleration Program in our school. The program was so successful that during the second year of the program we began to plan for a school wide implementation the following school year. School wide implementation was equally successful as we moved to a true balanced calendar and transitioned to an online curriculum for all of our courses. The online curriculum is merely a tool teachers use to help deliver the curriculum. Our teachers continue to play vital roles in the education of students. Our school year now runs from the first of August to the middle of July. Students and teachers come to school Monday thru Thursday. We have a number of incentives to encourage academic progress as well as positive social behavior, including a Friday school program. We also have coined the phrase “mesters” as we have scrapped traditional semester grading periods except for state reporting purposes. By doing away with grading periods, our students are able to truly work at their own pace. Once a student shows proficiency in a course, we award the student a grade and a credit. We currently run seven different programs within the school in order to best meet the students’ needs. Our main program is our Core 4, which is set up on a block schedule where the students rotate classes between the core classes of English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. We also have five alternative classrooms taught by licensed teachers which provide highly structured learning environments. A licensed English teacher and Math teacher rotate in to those classrooms on a daily basis to provide additional support and instruction in each of those respective subject areas. Our most recent program is an online program that allows students to continue their education once they are released from residential placement.

Evidence

Our daily enrollment averages between 80 to 90 students grades 6th thru 12th. However, due to the transient population of residential students, we provide educational services to 200 to 300 students each school year. We issued an average of 87 credits per month last school year to a population of students that typically has problems earning credits. In addition, we issued 15 high school diplomas.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

  1. With more than 22 years of experience in public education and 20 years in school administration, Troy Friedersdorf serves as the principal of the White’s Jr./Sr. High School in Wabash, Indiana. He graduated from Anderson University in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and social studies with a concentration in psychology. He went on to earn his master’s degree in school administration from Indiana University in 1996. Prior to coming to White’s Jr./Sr. High School, he taught at an alternative school in Pueblo, Colorado, served as the dean of students at Norwell High School in Indiana, and also served as the principal at Eastbrook High School in Indiana.

Keyword Descriptors

at-risk students, alternative schools, online curriculum

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-3-2015 4:00 PM

End Date

3-3-2015 5:30 PM

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Mar 3rd, 4:00 PM Mar 3rd, 5:30 PM

Encouraging and Rewarding Persistence and Proficiency in At-Risk Students

Harborside Center East and West

Assessing the at-risk student’s individual needs and creating an environment that sets the student up for success are the first steps in getting them moving in a positive direction. In this session you will be given different strategies that have proven successful. In addition we will discuss the benefits of online curriculum as it pertains to credit recovery/acceleration programming.