The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night voted to establish an Adult High School.
Materials Supervisor Larry Johnson says the school will be set up as a non-structured learning center for those age 17 and older who have dropped out of school but want to complete their high school education. \"All we have to do is get a building approved by the fire marshal, apply for a school number, then we can set it up.\"
The school, to be located in an existing building near DCHS, will most likely operate on a 20 hour a week schedule, possibly from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. five days a week.
Johnson says the adult high school will be operated as a separate school from DCHS and classes will be taught by qualified teachers, however it will be non-structured, meaning that students won't be required to attend and each student may have a different course of study even though they share the same classroom. \"Some might be working on history while others are working on science in the same classroom under the direction of a certified and qualified teacher. We will have to keep attendance and everything, just like a regular school, but it will be a school unto itself with a different address and everything.We'll be funded under the BEP on the number of students who attend but we won't have to do any monthly reports and everything like we do for a regular school.\"
Students must complete 70 contact hours in order to earn a half credit or 133 contact hours for one whole credit.
Johnson says it's a great second chance opportunity for dropouts. \"We have a number of 17 year olds, soon to be 18 year olds, who are on the verge of dropping out. Since I've been working on the truancy board, we've had one student, who will turn 18 the 17th of this month, tell us she's quitting because she has to work. This might give her an opportunity to go back to school and finish her schooling.\"
Johnson added \"Let's say you have a child that's a high school senior who lacks nine credits. Well he's got every reason to want to drop out because he can't get but eight credits in one year. If he had this (adult high school) he could go after school and pick up an extra credit.\"
DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix says the adult high school will take the place of the high school GED program but won't count against the DCHS graduation rate. Students who attend the adult high school will also be required to earn fewer credits. \"We wouldn't have our high school GED program. We would have our adult high school that we would transfer them to and if they didn't want to go to that then they could go to the adult GED program. They still have to pass the Gateway but with the Adult High School, students just need 21 credits, instead of 28 and they would not count on our graduation rate. They would graduate from the adult high school, not the regular high school. It's a separate school. Last year we had 17 students that graduated with a GED, which was over 12% of our graduates. That was killing our graduation rate.\"