The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

July 19, 2012

River Bend examines credit recovery courses

By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer

FULTON, Ill. — Better supervision and rigor for students in credit recovery classes has become an issue at Fulton High School.

River Bend School Board discussed the problems faced in the relatively new program to help students who have failed classes at a meeting Monday.

“The teachers need to be more involved in deciding whether a child is capable of doing the work,” Board member Nick Crosthwaite said. “Some kids just don’t feel like doing the work.”

High School Principal Loren Beswick and Superintendent Chuck Holliday have been meeting to discuss changes to policies of the program. Students who have high numbers of absences or tardiness are not allowed to take part in the program. Those with repeated behavioral issues or previous suspension will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The program aims toward helping students attain a high school diploma.

“We are working to tighten things up a bit,” Beswick said. “We are making sure our school psychologist is a big part of the process to address capabilities and behavioral issues.”

A team of teachers, Individualized Education Program Committee, core course teacher and guidance counselor are also involved in the process for further measuring the students abilities. Currently the sign up form allows a student to sign up for up to five credit recovery courses, a number that is fairly high compared to other schools, according to the board.

“There is no magic number, many schools have it at no more than two,” Holliday said.

Last year 31 students took part in the program by taking 66 courses total, meaning most students took two courses.

Another concern is what the students do after the course is completed. Many of the CRC courses only take a few weeks to finish, leaving the students with several weeks of unknown activity. Holliday made the suggestion to place them in a class, but then it raises the question of what course to place them in.

“We need to make sure kids are doing something productive,” Board President Dan Portz said. “Right now supervision, rigor and what to do with kids when they complete their class are what we need to focus on.”

While the program is still a work in progress, significant results have been seen. One student was able to recover credits and was accepted into Black Hawk College after graduating.

Other Actions:

• Accepted fuel bids for the 2012-13 school year from Kelly Oil.

• Adopted district principal evaluation plan for 2012-13 school year compliant and consistant with Illinois State Board of Education rules and regulations for principal practice and student growth.

• Approved life health safety expenditures for Fulton High School restroom partitions and toilet fixtures of $21,500.

• Approved recommendation from Climate Committee for $4,000 for new televisions and a bulletin board in the cafeteria.