In 2010, Groveport Madison Schools decided to spin off the popular Credit Achievement Program from Groveport Madison High School into its own conversion/community school called Cruiser Academy. The goal was to provide another alternative for at-risk students who, for a number of different reasons, were not successful in the traditional high school setting.
Because of the flexible nature needed to service its at-risk population, Cruiser Academy was designed from the beginning to leverage blended learning to deliver online content to its students, all of whom have varying coursework needs and abilities.
As is the case with many at-risk populations, differentiation and the ability for students to work at their own pace was a paramount goal and factored heavily when it came time to select the online curriculum that would power the school.
“We needed a program that allowed students to interact with the content and allowed them to work at their pace as they caught up on deficient credits and tried to graduate from high school,” said Cruiser Academy’s administrator for curriculum, Sheryl Hernandez.
Hernandez explains the strategy as such: “We use an integration where students work in-house on their Plato [Courseware] courses and Study Island assignments, while having access to our coaches and tutors. In addition, students have access and work from home, where they can interact with their online instructors for lesson assistance and review.”
The mission of Cruiser Academy has expanded far beyond serving just high school students who need credits in order to graduate. Cruiser Academy now accepts students who are looking for an accelerated scheduled as well. It created The Academic Scholars Institute to provide middle school students with the opportunity to get a head start on their high school credits and high school students with the opportunity to graduate early.
Cruiser Academy has also become a popular career and technical education option for students interested in accessing a career outside of the typical college track in such fields as nursing, technology, and business management. Through the Preferred Pathway Program with Central Ohio Technical College (COTC), these students may earn certifications that can lead to jobs straight out of Cruiser Academy or, with continuing study, out of COTC.
Finally, students with learning disabilities, English-language challenges, or those who, for medical reasons, cannot attend their assigned high school can all earn the credits they need at Cruiser Academy.
“With the combination of Plato, Study Island, the teachers in the cloud [EdOptions Academy], and our in-house coaches, we can easily address the individual learning needs successfully for all our students, which include students behind in credits, students trying to graduate early, students on IEPs and/or in ESL, students with medical conditions, etc.,” reported Hernandez.
Before the implementation of Edmentum solutions, Cruiser Academy was rated in ”academic emergency.” After six years, it is rated in the top 20% of dropout prevention and recovery schools in Ohio, along with exceeding state standards in all graduation ratings.
To date, Cruiser Academy has served over 1,200 students who may have run out of education options otherwise. Around 300 students have graduated directly from Cruiser Academy. The Academic Scholars Institute has helped more than 200 students earn credits beyond their grade level, including professional football player Le’Veon Bell, who used the Cruiser Academy to graduate high school early and begin work on his college career.
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