Some students in Fayette County Public Schools are older than others at their grade level and don’t have the credits they need for graduation.
A new Dropout Prevention and Re-Engagement Academy — for students at risk of dropping out before high school graduation — is set to open this fall.
“It’s going to be intense and accelerated, because they’ve got to catch up,” said Faith Thompson, the district associate director of student support services.
District officials are looking for a site for the new school. A budget of $1.2 million is proposed for the program for the 2017-18 school year.
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Initially, 50 to 60 students are expected to attend the new academy. The staff is to include a director, teachers and coaches to help students prepare for the transition from school to work or postsecondary education
At the new academy, each student is to have a personalized learning program.
There are about 127 students in the district who are 16 and in ninth grade.
Those students have not experienced success in the traditional high school setting and need an alternative program, Thompson said.
“They are disengaged,” she said. Some have to work to provide for their families. Other potential academy students are new to the United States.
“Oftentimes the student is not just in crisis, but the family is,” Thompson said.
Fayette County Superintendent Manny Caulk said community agencies will partner with the school district to provide services to help students.
District officials have visited a similar academy in Nashville.
Caulk said district officials have considered the option of developing dropout prevention programs at existing high schools instead of creating a new school.
Thompson, though, said research has shown that a separate, stand-alone academy model is more effective.
A Herald-Leader analysis in March showed that Fayette County’s graduation rate is among the bottom 15 districts in Kentucky.