Soon, students at both of the Fort Mill School District's high schools will have an alternative to summer school. The district is getting ready to launch a Web-based credit recovery program that will help students who have fallen behind graduate on time.
The program gives students who fail a core class an opportunity to make up that credit the following semester. Although supervised, the students can work at their own pace at work stations that will be set up at the high schools and at Fort Mill Academy.
The $100 fee that students or their parents will pay the district will cover the cost of the work stations - called "ports" - and the teachers. That gives parents a lower-cost alternative to help get their kids back on track and without the logistic hassles summer school can present.
One of the best features of the system is it costs the district only $500 to acquire the license to use it. The ports have to be paid for annually, but that cost will be covered by the user fees.
District officials are also thinking about offering the program to middle school students. The earliest possible intervention when it comes to at-risk students at any level is good, but kids at that formative stage can enjoy a much richer high school experience down the road if they can be reached before falling behind becomes a pattern.
Although most Fort Mill students graduate on time, the district should be commended for taking steps to help those few students who may be at risk. It demonstrates that our educators and administrators are working for all students, not just the high achievers.