Get­ting a chance to catch up, af­ter hours

Start­ing this month, up­dated evening high school pro­gram ad­dresses more cur­rent needs

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­ski@somd­

High school stu­dents strug­gling with school can now take classes in the evening in­stead, and some teach­ers can pocket ex­tra cash for their ef­forts, St. Mary’s school board mem­bers dis­cussed at a Wed­nes­day meet­ing.

Funds ini­tially ap­proved for an open ad­min­is­tra­tor po­si­tion will now be used in­stead to pay stipends to teach­ers, coun­selors and ad­min­is­tra­tors for ad­di­tional work, said Mike Watson, pub­lic schools’ ad­min­is­tra­tive and ac­count­abil­ity of­fi­cer, adding that no more full-time em­ploy­ees will be hired on for the evening school.

Teach­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors are to be paid at the sup­ple­men­tal rate of $26.50 an hour. Be­cause this is not an in­crease in en­roll­ment, no ad­di­tional materials will be needed. While stu­dents will be en­cour­aged to ar­range trans­porta­tion for the evening school, there is $5,000 bud­geted for STS bus vouch­ers.

Start­ing Mon­day, Nov. 27, at Fair­lead Academy I in Great Mills, school staff will offer evening classes to no more than 80 stu­dents who are chal­lenged aca­dem­i­cally by go­ing to reg­u­lar high school, Ch­eryl Long, su­per­vi­sor of stu­dent ser­vices, said.

Some chil­dren also face re­spon­si­bil­i­ties at home such as watch­ing over younger sib­lings or earn­ing money to sup­port their house­holds, “that make it dif­fi­cult to at­tend” school dur­ing the day, she said.

Of­fer­ing classes in the evening is “an al­ter­na­tive to a cur­rent path­way” to grad­u­a­tion, Watson said.

Classes will be of­fered Mon­day through Thurs­day from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Fair­lead build­ing on Great Mills Road, Long said.

While Great Mills High School stu­dents are the pri­mary focus for the pi­lot classes,

Leonard­town and Chop­ti­con stu­dents will also be con­sid­ered, Watson said, adding that chil­dren tak­ing evening course­work will not be able to par­tic­i­pate in their home school’s athletics or other af­ter-school pro­grams “be­cause class would be­ing go­ing on at the same time,” he said.

Board mem­ber Mary Wash­ing­ton said this

ver­sion of evening school has been “up­dated for the needs of to­day” by of­fer­ing blended course­work that stu­dents can con­tinue on­line.

“This is a chance for teach­ers to earn ex­tra pay in their ca­reer field … be­cause most of them [al­ready] have a sec­ond job,” she said.

Watson said he plans

for more than one teacher to help out with the evening school course­work, and teach­ers are un­der no obli­ga­tion to take on the ex­tra work.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Scott Smith said this path­way “is not new, we of­fered a sim­i­lar pro­gram all through the 1990s and the early 2000s. We moved

away from it be­cause we in­tro­duced

[ on­line] APEX lear ning and credit re­cov­ery,” to reg­u­lar day­time high school, he said.

Smith said the grad­u­a­tion rate at Great Mills High School, at 89 per­cent, “lags be­hind” both Chop­ti­con and Leonard­town, both at over 95 per­cent.

Par­ents and chil­dren will meet with teach­ers, coun­selors and ad­min­is­tra­tors to de­ter­mine their aca­demic needs prior to at­tend­ing evening school, Long said.

They could also fin­ish high school in three years if they “dou­ble up” on their course­work and file for early grad­u­a­tion, Watson said.

Classes to be sched­uled in­clude English for all four grades, al­ge­bra, some sci­ence and so­cial stud­ies cour­ses, as well as a crafts class for a fine arts credit, Watson said. Stu­dents can also take classes nec­es­sary for the ca­reer re­search de­vel­op­ment grad­u­a­tion path, he said.

Watson said food will be of­fered through the Child and Adult Care Food Pro­gram.

Board mem­ber Cathy Allen said of­fer­ing classes in the evening is a chance to “do some­thing that we have lo­cal con­trol over.”




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