Friday, June 30, 2006

Life Skills Center grads defy odds, stay the course

Miami Herald.Com reported on these alternative high schools today. (read entire article)

"The center's curriculum allows teens who have dropped out of a traditional high school -- or are at risk of doing so -- to complete their schooling by attending daily four-hour sessions."

"Don't be fooled: This is no GED class. Life Skills students, all of whom are between 16 to 21 years old, earn a diploma that is recognized by the state. And like other high school students, they must pass the state-mandated FCAT."

"The difference is that Life Skills students do much of their work on a computer at their own pace. They must also work or volunteer at least 360 hours."

Although programs like this are not really new, they are often, in the world of education, reported on as such. When I was in high school, there was a program called work experience. Students would come to school in the morning for their "core" classes, or as KATHLEEN McGRORY calls them, "run of the mill" classes, and then they would leave to go to work in the afternoon.

The traditional high school day of core classes, electives, lunch, pep rallies, and activities is not for every student. Many students cannot find success in this format. Alternatives schools like the life skill center should only be the beginning of the changes needed with the current system. Although I am a proponent of traditional high school courses, not every student will benefit from the education the old fashioned way.


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