Opportunities on the Horizon

December 1, 2017

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It’s a great opportunity for kids that have trouble getting up in the morning and always miss school. It would give kids a chance that have to work or have kids.”

— Mrs. Erin Mueller

Granite City High School is working to establish an alternative path to a successful graduation. The program that has been developed so far will provide helpful solutions to students who are struggling to meet graduation requirements within the normal four years of high school.

The plan is to allow students to go to night school on Monday and Wednesday nights or Tuesday and Thursday nights. It will last for 5 hours and 15 minutes from 4:00-9:15pm. Students would be taking four classes per night. The majority of the classes will be core classes that consist of English, math, science, and a possible elective choice. Approximately 100 students will be chosen for this program. The target population will be students that may work during the day, students who have children, and students who may have personal problems attending the regular school day. 74.1% of the students from Granite City High School graduate within four years, but this program is focusing on the other 26%.

We are not the only school that is offering this program. Belleville East High School and Alton High School have offered this program for many years. Belleville East has offered this for more than 25 years, and Alton has offered this for 31 years. Both schools have had very good results and our school hopes to do the same.

“It’s a great opportunity for kids that have trouble getting up in the morning and always miss school. It would give kids a chance that have to work or have kids,” said Mrs. Mueller, GCHS Spanish teacher.

There is another component of the program which consists of an alternative day program for 7th and 8th grade Coolidge students and 9th and 10th grade GCHS students. This alternative day program will give students a slightly different educational setting compared to the normal school day because it is limited to only those in the program.

“In general, I think it’s a great idea for kids who are not being as successful or have not been successful in our current day program, but they still have the ability, we hope to possibly graduate,” said Mrs. Heath, GCHS science teacher.

You may be wondering why the district would implement this program? The main goal is to raise our graduation rate and give a second chance to students who might have otherwise given up the chance to walk across the stage and receive a diploma.

“I am for the night school because if you have the opportunity to graduate with your class, you should take it,” said Mrs. Kopsky, GCHS art teacher.

Although this all sounds like an excellent solution, there have been many questions raised about the timing and the cost of this program. Some people wonder where the funds to operate this program are going to come from. Some say the funding should be redirected to other needs. “Do the students that will enroll in this program care enough to complete it? Will the money that we invest be worth the result?” said Mr. Jones, GCHS welding teacher.

Many questions surround the staffing for the night school—who will be the program’s teachers, custodians, cooks, and bus drivers? Who will pay for the buses, extra staffing, and food the school will have to provide? “The only thing that will be hard is staffing people because teachers will have to work all day and then at night,” said Mrs. Mueller.

“I feel as though it is a good program to allow students who are so close to graduation but quit school a chance to finish and graduate,” said Mr. Jones.

Granite City High School is always looking to improve the way we educate students. Teachers and administrators are trying to find new ways to better student education and help create successful paths to the future. You might be wondering how they accomplish this with so many different obstacles, but this program is just one more way our district is trying to provide additional services to students who need them.

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