Thursday, August 30, 2007

Program offers help to students falling behind

This is such a positive benefit for the students who are still in school, a definite sign of caring. -Patricia

CCISD officials hope to enroll 100 in Horizons

By Adriana Garza (Contact)
August 28, 2007

About 100 CCISD high school students who are more than two grade levels behind are getting a new chance at academic success through the district's new Horizons Program.

Corpus Christi Independent School District trustees received an update on the district's newest program based on smaller classrooms and individualized instruction at the Solomon Coles High School and Education Center at Monday night's regular school board meeting.

The program focuses on providing students, many repeating one grade level more than twice or several grade levels once, with the opportunity to catch up on course work through accelerated and condensed individualized instruction.

Once the students are caught up, the goal is to get them to graduate, possibly with their originally assigned graduating class, said Bernadine Cervantes, assistant superintendent for school leadership.

"Solomon Coles will shine like a beacon of hope for these students who need a change," Cervantes said.

This spring school administrators reviewed enrollment information to identify ninth- and 10th-grade students who were between 17 and 18 years old -- the age of an average graduating senior.

For the majority of the students, earning high school credits hasn't been easy. Most have earned fewer than five, Cervantes said.

As of Monday, the first day of school for CCISD, about 70 of the 100 students identified were enrolled at Coles.

"We are the last hope, last option, for many of these students," said Monica Bayarena, principal at Coles.

Students in the Horizons program can expect different, hands-on instruction, with an emphasis on reading, writing and math.

Students also will have a smaller student-to-teacher ratio, which will allow teachers and counselors to have a better understanding of individuals needs.

Other goals include improving Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills scores, increasing attendance rates and making key connections to local colleges.

"We want to make our students feel welcome and give them an education environment where everyone knows their names," Bayarena said.

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