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The Flexibility to Support All Alternative Learning Solutions in Dover, DE

The Flexibility to Support All Alternative Learning Solutions in Dover, DE
School Name and Location: 
Dover High School
The Challenge: 

Dover High School (DHS) in Dover, Delaware, has an after-school program called Twilight, designed to let 12th grade students make up credits they are missing from failing previous grade levels. Without the credits, these students would not graduate on time and would likely drop out of school. Serving roughly 50 students per year, the Twilight program has helped at-risk students for many years.

Co-principals Evelyn Edney and Kenneth Garvey and the rest of the staff at DHS realized that a significant number of their at-risk students were being missed by the Twilight program or that it simply did not afford them enough time to recover the necessary credits. The students who were not on track to graduate were becoming disruptive in their classrooms during the traditional school day, often on their way to dropping out completely. If DHS could find a way to keep these students engaged and on track to graduate, it could solve an increasing amount of classroom disruptions while giving them an opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives. “It isn’t easy. It takes the right people putting in a lot of very hard work,” said Edney. “But we are making progress.”

How They Did it: 

The Twilight program at Dover High School has been using Edmentum’s EdOptions Academy since 2000, enabling the school to expand its offerings for at-risk seniors while still offering a rigorous online curriculum. When the school decided to expand its credit recovery program called Daylight, it again approached Edmentum to supplement the program.

With Daylight, Plato Courseware is used for differentiation to address the needs of students who, in many cases, were further behind their grade level than their classmates in the Twilight program. “We liked the versatility of the programs and how they could meet the wide-ranging needs of these students,” said Edney. “We like the mix of being reading-intensive while still being visually interactive.”

Daylight is offered in three-hour blocks Monday through Thursday to fit with a student’s other scheduling needs. Students must be 17 years or older and behind grade level in their studies. A certified teacher is in the room at all times while students are working on their Plato Courseware curriculum to help support them.

“Teachers spend multiple hours with these students, either confronting repeated disruptions in the classroom, making parent phone calls, writing referrals, sending classwork to the CARE room, attending parent-student-teacher conferences, and so forth," reported Dr. Edney. "The students may not have the skills needed to complete the schoolwork in a bigger class setting, which is why an alternative is needed."

Success: 

The Twilight program at DHS served 45 students in the 2013—2014 school year, helping many of them graduate when they would not have done so otherwise. In its first year, the Daylight program served 29 students—22 of those graduated with their classmates in June.

The success of the Daylight and Twilight programs has helped bring Dover High School’s overall dropout rate down from 3.8 percent to 1.6 in just one year.

“We are so pleased with the adoption of the Daylight program," said Edney. "We have seen a change in the attitudes of our students who had convinced themselves to give up. Within a week of using the program, they were smiling and saying, ‘I can do this.’”

Edney also believes that the Daylight and Twilight programs, with help from Plato Courseware and EdOptions Academy, are making a huge difference in the lives of DHS students; “I believe that because of Edmentum and the products we use from there, we are saving lives, saving students from being high school dropouts.”

The Future: 

Edney and her staff will not be satisfied until all of Dover High School's students graduate, but after 2013's success, that goal might actually be within reach. The school is so pleased with the success it experienced with Plato Courseware and EdOptions Academy that it feels confident in its abilities to expand the Daylight and Twilight programs whenever the need arises. Considering the school grew by more than 1,000 students in 2013, that need might come sooner rather than later.

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