Let me dream for a moment. I’ve written before about initiatives in G-Town and our efforts to improve. As a fiscally responsible principal, I’ve always tried to make those changes with little impact to our budget. But now, with our Governor’s proposed increase to foundation aid, I’m really starting to think about how we could improve. Like a full 9-12 summer school program, with transportation, offered to our students here for free. Most of our kids who drop out do so because they fall behind on credits earned, due to lack of attendance, or lack of effort, or intense needs that warrant a reduced course load each year. They most often can’t get to the neighboring summer school (30 miles away) and they sure can’t afford it.
The five year plan. Super Seniors. Most kids don’t stick around for that fifth year. I treasure every student who does stay for the long haul. And when they do stay, they still count as drop outs in our accountability rate with the State. More and more are sticking around. Too many are dropping out–about 24 per year.
But what if I could offer them the chance to gain credits in July and August, attendance and effort the only cost? Keep them on track to graduate in four years with kids their age? Make it a palatable schedule, so they’ll come? Would this be a significant improvement on the path to graduation in four years, enough to entice my reluctant learners to stay with me?
And I haven’t even talked about offering booster courses for kids on the fence. . . or enrichment. . . or more community college courses. . . or intensive academic intervention services. And fewer class periods in our school day, because those kids on track to graduation have plenty of time to get in their credits and then we could spend longer than our 38 minutes per period. 38 minutes is nothing. Fewer but longer class periods with summer school to help our reluctant learners stay on track. And hey, I’m just getting started, I’ve only been thinking about this since Thursday. What will happen when our entire faculty starts to dream like this?