New school reduces drop out rates -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New school reduces drop out rates

August 12, 2005

Nashville - Seventeen-year-old Antonio Rubio should be a senior this year. "But I messed around and got behind and I'm still a junior," said Rubio.

But he can still graduate on time, thanks to the teachers at Berrien Academy. "Because of the way we run the school and the wavers we have through the charter school process, we can give them credit, they can catch up and graduate on time," said Gary Chapman, Director.

The school is designed for students who are at risk of dropping out of school. The curriculum is the same as any other high school, but with only 15 students to each classroom, teachers can spend more one on one time with each individual. "They have to have end of course testing just like at the traditional high school as well as pass the Georgia high school graduation test to get their diploma," said Chapman.

But instead of learning a specific lesson planned by the teacher each day, these students work at their own pace and advance at different times. "They receive credit not necessarily because of the number of days they're here, but the mastery of their learning," said Chapman.

Because the school is much smaller than most, there's less distractions and they can focus solely on their work. "Many kids don't fit that mold of the high school setting and they need a lot of additional support or just a different way of learning," said Chapman.

Support that will lead students like Antonio to a diploma and help boost this county's graduation rates.