Opinion

Help for failing students

Thousands of students have failed classes because they didn't study for one big test or didn't turn in a report on time. Now, thanks to a new program for high school students in Rock Hill, many will get a second chance to pass.

Last month, the school district launched online credit and content recovery programs that allow students to go back and master material they had trouble with earlier and raise their grades above the 70 mark. In fact, students don't have to fail a class before taking advantage of the programs; they can use the online programs to repeat a work unit before the class session has ended.

Online content recovery is designed to allow students to focus only on the material they need to re-learn without having to repeat the whole course in summer school. And students -- more than 150 of whom already have signed up -- reportedly are thrilled to have an alternative to summer school.

The district has provided academic coaches at each high school -- new positions created this school year -- to help advise students about virtual courses. The coaches also help line up tutors and open classrooms with computer space before, during and after school for students who work independently.

The next step may be virtual programs for middle school students in the district.

By helping students avoid failing classes, the district also is likely to reduce the number of dropouts, a problem that plagues school districts throughout the state. And by allowing students to assume personal responsibility for learning material that stumped them earlier and raising their grades, the district encourages a personal investment in learning that might not have been there to begin with.

This is just one of a number of innovative programs the district has adopted recently that acknowledge the fact that different people learn differently. We hope district officials continue to explore new ways to help students achieve before they fail.

IN SUMMARY

Online programs at Rock Hill high schools give students a second chance.

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