Special Education Students Achieve High Graduation Rates

Special Education Students Achieve High Graduation Rates

Hendry County Schools, FL

Success Story


Special education students at Clewiston High School in Hendry County, Florida, struggled with the online curriculum they were using for credit recovery to the point where they either dropped out of school or just couldn’t graduate. Hendry County Schools is a small, rural district and for students in this community, walking across Cane Field, the school’s football stadium, to receive their diplomas is a special milestone, and one that many special education students didn’t get to experience as they had significantly lower graduation rates than their general education peers.  

The challenge was to help these students recover their credits and increase their grade point averages (GPAs) while also adhering to their individualized education plans or IEPs. After surveying students, parents, teachers, counselors, and administrators, ESE (Exceptional Student Education) teacher Reko Parantha noticed the theme that kept coming up was that their current online curriculum program didn’t really have a credit recovery option with supports built into it for ESE students. 

So, he decided to explore other options and find an online curriculum with the right supports so his students could make progress toward earning the credits they needed to graduate.


Mr. Parantha, now the Assistant Principal at Clewiston High School, attended education conferences to try and find solutions, and that’s where he learned about Apex Courses. His quest for a better solution to give special education students the same opportunity to succeed as general education students started with a small-scale implementation of Courses. 

Mr. Parantha found the built-in supports of the Apex curriculum were what he felt was absent from other online curriculum solutions he had reviewed. Apex filled in critical skill gaps and provided an extensive system of scaffolds and supports that enabled juniors and seniors to successfully recover credits. “They deserve to have the same option in that credit recovery lab that every other general education student has,” said Mr. Parantha.


After the first full year of implementing Courses, Clewiston High School was able to raise the ESE graduation rate from approximately 70% to 91%. 

Hendry County Schools has expanded the use of Courses to other programs over the years, and in June 2021, it made Apex the districtwide solution to meet the needs of students and teachers. In addition to credit recovery, some teachers use it in a blended learning classroom for whole group instruction, and students who are immunocompromised (or have family members who are) can utilize courses and receive fully virtual instruction through the Hendry Online Learning Academy.

Edmentum Products
  • Apex Courses/Tutorials
District Profile
  • 8,914 Students
  • 99.5% Economically disadvantaged
  • 58.7% Hispanic
  • 23.9% African American
  • 15% Caucasian