Sunday, April 30, 2000

Plans aim to cut dropout numbers

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        UNION TOWNSHIP - The Lakota Schools will use a two-year, $220,000 grant to begin a program to help students in grades 7-12 stay in school.

        The program will have two components. The first will be put in place by September, and the second next February, said Assistant Superintendent Mike Taylor, who heads the project's team.

        The first part is geared toward students in grades 7-12 who have been suspended.

        Instead of suspension, eligible students can attend the Alternative Placement Program — which will be housed at either Lakota East or West high schools — from 3-7 p.m. Transportation will be the responsibility of the student.

        Students will work on assignments from their home school for credit. Before returning to regular classes, each will work on a goal-setting project that includes development of a plan to allow the student to graduate on time.

        Upon returning to their home school, participants will be assigned an adult mentor.

        “This will allow students to receive full credit, which they're not able to do when out of school now,” Mr. Taylor said.

        The second part of the program, dubbed Project Success, is aimed at ninth- and 10th-grade students who are behind classmates in credits.

        Participants will go to school from 8 a.m. to noon, noon to 4 p.m., or 4-8 p.m. and complete 20 hours of community service.

        During their class hours, each will complete an individualized curriculum and will have the opportunity to earn one-fourth credit by completing a career exploration project.

        A one-year minimum participation is required with classes meeting year-round: 45 days in school, 15 off. The location has not been determined.

        “It would be a school-within-a-school program. One big focus will be reading,” Mr. Taylor said.

        “There are a lot of ideas but a lot of work that still has to be done,” he said.

        The matching grant requires Lakota to provide a like amount of cash or services. Project Success will serve about 45 students.


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