|Updated: 10/03/2012 10:19 pm
||Published: 10/03/2012 7:32 pm
A Pulaski County Special School District High School is struggling to keep kids in the classroom long enough to graduate.
Only 57% of seniors graduated at Jacksonville High School last year. This year, the school is taking a new approach to improve the graduation rate. The goal is to get the graduation rate to at least 70% this year.
If the statistics don't improve, out of 200 seniors this year at Jacksonville High School, only 100 hundred will graduate, and only 50 will go to college. To keep that from happening, Assistant Principal Lourdes Goodnight says there's a new, big push to help kids get to college. "For our children it's going to mean some serious, very concentrated work."
With funding from a federal school improvement grant, Jacksonville High School hired a graduation coach. Paige Viger says it's her job is to encourage kids to stay in school and graduate, and raise the graduation rates.
Viger says to do that, the school offers 10 free ACT tutoring sessions, field trips to area colleges, and scholarship information at student's fingertips. "I actually sit down with students one on one and show them how to register online for the ACT. They don't realize what's involved in it."
Viger's mission is to put the opportunity in the student's hands. "If they want to take advantage of it, they can."
Goodnight says it all starts with the freshmen. She says getting them on the right track and keeping them focused on their future will keep them from fall through the cracks. Viger says this year there's no reason not to catch every student from falling.
Goodnight says for the students, high school is sometimes hard, but she wants to encourage kids to never call it quits, and keep driving forward.
Robert Knowlin says the message is already getting through. "Stay in school, focus in class, and keep my grades up."
James Nickens says he has high hopes for his future. "Hard work, dedication, and keeping the right kind of mind set."
The first college field trip is October 17th to the University of Central Arkansas. 260 students are signed up to go.