Fifth-year high school students in Columbia County might get their own classroom next semester.
Officials proposed during a Tuesday school board meeting segregating 20 of those students – four from each high school – to the Grovetown alternative school for a pilot program meant to fast-track them toward getting a diploma.
“Only those students who are motivated and have a reasonable chance for success, based on their number of credits, past academic history, (or) are in danger of ‘aging out’ prior to the end of the semester will be considered,” according to an abstract submitted to the school board.
Called S.O.S., the program “provides the opportunity for young adults to recover from and reverse poor choices, difficult socio-economic circumstances, or familial upsets in an environment replete with high expectations for success,” according to the abstract.
The alternative school currently has available computer lab space to house the program. Should it prove successful and grow, the program might move to Columbia Middle or Evans Elementary as those schools are vacated for new facilities.
The classes will be monitored by graduation coaches because they already are trained in online learning programs and overseeing students in danger of not graduating.
For the pilot, Superintendent Charles Nagle expects to need only $1,000 to compensate graduation coaches for mileage. However, he said, if the board decides to move forward with the program following the pilot period, a full-time teacher might need to be added to the budget.
Classes for the proposed program would start at 9 a.m. and end at noon. They would be held Monday through Thursday.
Such a time frame allows students to seek afternoon employment while earning their diploma, according to the abstract.
Chosen students must provide their own transportation to the school.