A second (or third) chance for dropouts

Dropouts who want a second, third or fourth chance can apply to an Indianapolis charter school designed to help them earn a dipoma, reports Sarah Butrymowicz of the Hechinger Report in the Indianapolis Star. But there’s a long wait list at the Excel Center, operated by Goodwill Education Initiatives.

The charter school is designed for adult students: The average age is 25. It offers small classes, is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, and provides a range of academic and social supports. Students can work for a diploma, which impresses employers more than a GED.  There’s room for 300 students; another 800 are on the wait list.

The Excel Center “uses computer-based learning so students go at their own pace,”  Butrymowicz writes.  Students can check out laptops to do online courses at home.

The school provides child care, opportunities to earn college credit through a partnership with Ivy Tech Community College and a life coach to inspire students to think about “what comes next,” said Scott Bess, chief operating officer of Goodwill Education Initiatives, a nonprofit branch of Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana.

Every student’s schedule includes time for tutoring and studying with specialists.

Cities across the country are trying to “recover” dropouts, even when they’ve aged out of high schools. Many are willing to try for a GED or diploma, but few succeed.

In San Bernardino, California, intensive outreach efforts — and unemployment — persuaded 30 percent of dropouts to return to high school, a WestEd study found. Only 18.4 percent of them earned a diploma.

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