School board OKs achievement programs

The Rock Hill School Board gave Superintendent Lynn Moody the go-ahead Monday to research and implement programs to help reduce the dropout rate and improve student achievement.

Moody proposed 10 ideas that would cost somewhere in the ballpark of $500,000.

The district has roughly $1 million in discretionary funds, which will pay for the programs.

"I think these are wonderful ideas," board member Jason Silverman said. "It's a great start."

Right now, the district's drop-out rate is 4.5 percent.

Although they aren't guaranteed, some of the new programs could take effect as early as this school year.

Here's a taste of what is to come:

• Funding a program that allows older students who are still in middle school to take high school-level science and catch up on credits.

• Exploring the possibility of sending students who might otherwise be expelled to an "alternative learning environment," run by a company outside of the school district. Administrators will visit similar charter schools in California to see how it works there.

• Adding math and English teachers at Phoenix Academy to reduce waiting lists. The Phoenix Academy offers alternative schedules and programming for students who want a nontraditional approach to classes.

• Implementing a summer bridge program at all three high schools. The two-week program would help middle school students establish relationships at their future high schools and adjust from one school to the next. South Pointe High School already has a program like this.

• Implementing Advancement Via Individual Determination programs. AVID targets middle-performing students who want to go to college. Students are placed in challenging academic classes and take an elective course that teaches them organizational and study skills and offers academic help from college and peer tutors.