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Credit Recovery on Your Terms in Kankakee, IL

Credit Recovery on Your Terms in Kankakee, IL
School Name and Location: 
Kankakee High School
The Challenge: 

Kankakee High School, south of Chicago, had seen its graduation rate deteriorate in recent years. In the 2011–12 school year, its graduation rate was 55 percent in a state with an average graduation rate of 82 percent. Something creative had to be done.

At Kankakee, a school with a majority-minority population, too many students were falling behind and didn't have a way to catch up. It is often the case that once students lose sight of the path forward, they are at risk of being lost. However, today's high school students are busier than ever, especially in lower-income neighborhoods, where teenagers are more likely to contribute to their families through work or by providing childcare. The instructional day couldn't be interrupted, but how much could really be done after school? As it turns out, a great deal.

How They Did it: 

Plato Courseware made it easy to get an after-school credit recovery program going at Kankakee in a short period of time. As a standards-based online learning program grounded in a tradition of solid research and sound pedagogy, Plato Courseware's rigorous curriculum challenges students while engaging them with interactive, media-rich content.

Principal Matthew Glenn explained, "We have credit recovery twice a week after school. Faculty supervise the computer labs and work with the students. They have helped to look at customizing the program for students for maximum efficiency."

The school, with 1,200 students and a graduation rate of 55 percent, provides a credit recovery program only two afternoons a week. It doesn't sound like enough, except for the fact that it's working.

Plato Courseware helps students stay focused. Students can see when they make progress and how that progress helps them achieve their goals. Having staff there to encourage, support, and challenge them makes a big difference. If students are taking time out of their busy schedules, they want to make sure it's worth the price.

Success: 

"The bottom line is, we've had more students graduate by using this program," explained Glenn. How many more? After a dip in the graduation rate in 2012, the 2013 graduation rate jumped from 55 percent to 67 percent. That's roughly 40 more students graduating than the year before.

The Future: 

Kankakee High School serves as a model for other schools considering partnering with Edmentum and Plato Courseware. Although the system is powerful enough to be used in any setting and situation you can find in the American school system, it's also flexible enough to accommodate only what you are prepared to do. Kankakee could spare only two afternoons each week and experienced great success. The school continues to consider expanding the program in the future in order to serve the needs of more students.

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