Title

Reviving Realistic Dreams …..What a High School Diploma Does for Youth At Risk

Presenters

Patti HuffmanFollow

First Presenter's Institution

Wilson County Adult High School

Second Presenter's Institution

Wilson County Adult High School

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Percival

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

This presentation is relevant to the “Head” Strand by addressing the areas of: reducing achievement gaps, equitable opportunity to learn, effective use of student data, differentiated instruction, instructional technology, dropout prevention, post-secondary readiness, and career readiness. The Wilson County Adult High School is a highly successful tool in preventing dropouts in Wilson County Tennessee. The Adult High School is available to all Wilson County residents ages 18 years and older. Students who are only 17 year olds may be approved for admittance if they have a hardship. i.e. teen parent, warranting an exception to attend the Adult High School. Most of the students at AHS are students at high risk of dropping out at age 18. At this non-traditional high school, the principal and school counselor evaluate each student’s records and develop an individual academic plan. During the student’s time at AHS, students have opportunities to meet with admissions personnel from colleges, universities, and technical colleges as well as military recruiters. College/career interests and financial opportunities are explored which often stimulate excitement and the ambition needed to earn their diploma. Many students are inspired to get an education beyond their high school diploma because they have hope in themselves and see a path to achieve more.

Brief Program Description

This non-traditional high school empowers youth at risk to earn their high school diploma. The major objective is graduating cohorts on time with preparedness for college/career. By fostering a sense of belonging, safety, success, self-worth, and hope, “can’t” is transformed into “can” as students realize their dreams.

“Excellence In All We Do”

Target audience: administrators, superintendents, high school teachers/graduation coaches

Summary

Reviving Realistic Dreams is a presentation that exhibits the impact that the Wilson County Adult High School has on the lives of hundreds of students and their futures. It explains what is done and how it is done. AHS is comprised predominantly of 17-19 year old students who have situations that make the traditional high school setting impractical or impossible. AHS addresses the needs of its students on physical, academic, emotional, and motivational levels. Needs as basic as paper and pencil or food are met so that barriers that may seem little others, do not become an obstacle for anyone. Academically, before the student enters the doors of the school, the principal and school counselor determine an academic plan for each student that meets the State of Tennessee requirements for graduation. This non-traditional school is a self-paced, computer based curriculum aligned with the State of Tennessee standards required for earning a high school diploma. Highly qualified teachers provide individual instruction as needed. AHS is a drama free zone where the focus is on daily success until they earn their high school diploma. From the secretary to the principal, everyone values the student and the goals to which they aspire. For many of these students, it is the first time they have been treated with dignity and with the sincere belief that they can succeed in life. By diligent follow up when students are not thriving or are not attending, students return to AHS to earn that diploma because they know they are cared for and believed in. When the student completes all graduation requirements, they receive a high school completion letter so they can enter the job force or start college without having to wait until the official graduation ceremony. Students are given the opportunity to see what lies beyond the horizon of the diploma and how to get there. Many students are surprised that there are ways for them to continue their education and therefore achieve the dreams they had given up on long ago. Thus, Reviving Realistic Dreams comes true on a regular basis at AHS!

Evidence

  1. The graduation rate data for the 2015-2016 school year is still embargoed. Based on the 2014-2015 school year, the Wilson County graduation rate was 95.62%. There are four other high schools in the county which the graduates of AHS contributed to their graduation rate. AHS graduated 4.82%, 6.06%, 7.55%, and 12.33% of the cohorts that graduate from each of those four schools. In all, AHS graduated 8.02% of the cohorts that graduated in Wilson County that year! This school year, AHS graduated 133 students, and they earned over $1,000,000 in scholarships. For a school with a staff of 1 secretary, 3 teachers, 1 school counselor, and 1 principal, that is outstanding proof of successful practices.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Mary Ashby is the principal for the Wilson County Adult High School in Lebanon, TN. She has served in education for 33 years as a teacher, a graduation coach and a principal. Mrs. Ashby was named Outstanding Vocational Instructor for the State of Tennessee, Lebanon High School Teacher of the Year and Wilson County Teacher of the Year. She has also served as Department Chairperson for the English Department, Special Education Department, and Lead Teacher for the Freshman Academy. Her most recent honor was being named "Woman of Wilson" in July!

Patti Huffman is the School Counselor for the Wilson County Adult High School in Lebanon, TN. She has served 29 years in education as a Middle School and High School Math Teacher as well as School Counselor. Mrs. Huffman was twice named Middle School Teacher of the Year at Donelson Christian Academy in Nashville, TN. as well as Tandy Technology Teacher of the Year.. She has served as 7th Grade Lead Teacher, Middle School and High School Math Department Chairperson, the Developer/Trainer/Leader of a Trauma Response Team at Donelson Christian Academy, and a TNCore Math Coach for the State of Tennessee.

Keyword Descriptors

Dropout, Graduation rate, Non-traditional, Success, Life changing, Innovative, Data driven

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-7-2017 10:15 AM

End Date

3-7-2017 11:30 AM

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Mar 7th, 10:15 AM Mar 7th, 11:30 AM

Reviving Realistic Dreams …..What a High School Diploma Does for Youth At Risk

Percival

This non-traditional high school empowers youth at risk to earn their high school diploma. The major objective is graduating cohorts on time with preparedness for college/career. By fostering a sense of belonging, safety, success, self-worth, and hope, “can’t” is transformed into “can” as students realize their dreams.

“Excellence In All We Do”

Target audience: administrators, superintendents, high school teachers/graduation coaches