The alternative school program getting most at-risk students to graduate

The primary goal for creating EOS was to facilitate successful school completion through the application of evidence-based instructional practices and the development of life skills and academic enablers. By fostering interpersonal skills, motivation, engagement, and study skills, the EOS program drives student success in both their school and community environments, while also supporting their transition from the EOS program.

EOS was created to serve the needs of at-risk students by providing a highly structured and supportive alternative instructional setting. The program uses Apex Learning digital curriculum as an alternative instructional delivery system and offers tiered support services based on the degree of student needs. The purpose of the program is to assist targeted groups in gaining the skills required to earn course credits and, when applicable, provide assistance toward passing and thus meeting all state graduation tests/requirements.

By preventing highly at-risk students from dropping out of school, EOS allows over-aged and under-credited students to earn sufficient credits and/or to pass state exams so they may graduate, or to allow students who have already dropped out to return to school and graduate. The program offers five specific services to both the student and his/her family: assessment, education, accountability, counseling, and parental involvement.

The facility in which EOS is now located once served as the WCSD administrative offices. The interior of the building was designed with input by students for students, incorporating a striking color palate, glass ceilings, a translucent and open concept that includes four study pods, wave-like walls and a large, expansive kitchen. The design was specifically developed to serve as a more professional environment for students. Students made it clear they wanted to come to a place that felt more like a work environment, fully equipped with a coffee station and a structure designed to minimize all sound.

Incorporating a combination digital curriculum, blended learning, face-to-face mentoring and community service, today EOS has served more than 1,300 students. Nearly 89 percent of the students who enroll at the EOS earn credit or graduate. Initially, the district went from graduating 13.5 percent of a defined disenfranchised student population to now consistently graduating nearly 75 percent.

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