Credit Recovery and Virtual Learning Improve Graduation Rates in Wayne County, MI

Credit Recovery and Virtual Learning Improve Graduation Rates in Wayne County, MI
School Name and Location: 
Taylor School District
The Challenge: 

The Taylor School District is in a suburban community southwest of Detroit, Michigan, that covers an area of approximately 25 square miles. In recent years, the district has seen one too many students fail to graduate. At the same time, it has been losing students to virtual schools that offer online classes from home.

How They Did it: 

The Taylor School District chose Plato Courseware to enrich its support of struggling students in two key areas. Students in grades 7–12 have access to Plato Courseware's online instruction through the district's credit recovery program in the classroom. In 2012–13, the district also established Taylor Virtual Learning Academy (TVLA) for grades 8–12. This online learning opportunity relies on Plato Courseware to give students the flexibility they need to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule.

Students in the TVLA program are provided with laptops to use at home, where they can access Plato Courseware courses 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students in the program also meet with a mentor at school twice a week for two hours each session. During these meetings, staff members assist students with school-related problems as well as personal issues, such as time management and mental health concerns.

"Many of my children have baggage that they don't carry necessarily in a backpack," said TVLA program manager Patricia Scott, in an article about the district's virtual learning program that appeared in the Dearborn Times-Herald. Through TVLA, the Taylor School District is able to give those students both the academic and emotional support they need to succeed.

Success: 

By utilizing Plato Courseware as part of its credit recovery program and virtual learning academy, the district has been able to help graduate students who were on the verge of dropping out. "We had many students failing and not being able to graduate on time," said Tracy Carroll, school improvement coordinator. "Plato helped with this. They have a great support team." In one year, the district has increased its graduation rate by nearly 8 percent to 76.22 percent, bringing it in line with the state average. The state of Michigan even named one of the Taylor School District's high schools a Reward School for outperforming other schools in achievement or growth.

Behind these impressive achievements are the successes that get to the heart of the matter—the individual students whose lives have been transformed. In 2012–13, Plato Courseware helped 22 of the 24 seniors enrolled in the district's virutal learning program graduate. One of these seniors was a new mom with a young infant. She believes the challenges of juggling parenthood with school would have made graduating next to impossible. "Most teenage mothers drop out of school, do not graduate, or they graduate late.Without this school [TVLA], I would not have graduated," the student was quoted as saying in the Dearborn Times-Herald.

The Future: 

In partnership with Edmentum, the Taylor School District intends to continue giving its students every opportunity to succeed. Its TVLA program is growing in numbers and popularity. It has increased its enrollment from 138 students in its inaugural year to 211 in 2013–14. At the same time, it will continue to rely on Plato Courseware in the classroom to assist with its credit recovery program so that struggling students won't fall behind.

For district superintendent Dawn Allen, the future looks bright: "This school district is poised and ready to move in a bold, new direction that will have a positive impact on every student attending our schools."

For more information:

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