Failing 9th grade for the second year in row, A.J. Swan had accepted that he wasn’t going to graduate from his Vermont high school. He’d barely made it this far, after being held back in 7th grade.
It wasn’t that he wasn’t learning, he said, but he didn’t find what he was learning important and didn’t feel a need to write it down _ as homework and papers _ to show he knew it.
“It wasn’t like a good feeling,” he said of knowing that he wouldn’t get a high school diploma.
That was until the school stepped in last year and offered him some alternative ways to prove what he knew–by writing papers on topics he was interested in, taking assessments and enrolling in a hands-on learning environment at a technical school where he has thrived in video. He’s set to graduate this spring and wants to become a documentary filmmaker.
(Next page: What is the League of Innovative Schools?)