New path to graduation to open this fall
New path to graduation to open this fall in Floyd County Schools
Posted on 06/21/2011

Floyd County Schools, in collaboration with Rome-Floyd Communities in Schools (CIS) and Communities in Schools of Georgia, will open a new learning center in August to provide an alternative path to graduation for high school students. Not all students can be placed in the same mold as they advance through school to graduation. The new program will add flexibility to scheduling and academic programs to help more of our community’s teens reach the goal of graduation. “Our mission is to provide a quality education for a quality life for our children,” stated Dr. Lynn Plunkett, superintendent of Floyd County Schools. “We can’t reach that by making students conform to our programs and time constraints, but rather, we must make our programs work for our students.” The PLCs emphasize personal support and an intense academic program anchored by an online instructional system and project-based learning to help students succeed. 

The PLCs create a business-like learning environment where students complete assignments using online, computer-based curriculum. Students learn at their own pace with assistance from support teachers providing individualized instruction. The PLC also provides experiential and service learning opportunities. Students are challenged to develop marketable skills in preparation for college and/or the workplace. The PLC provides students with mentors, internships, dual college enrollment, and technical training. The new Performance Learning Center will have the capacity to serve 75 students with a 1 to 15 teacher/student ratio. The program will begin with 30 to 40 students this fall. Interviews for students wishing to attend the program when it opens in August will be conducted on June 22 and 23. In addition to the CIS components of the PLC, Floyd County Schools will vary the program to include a freshmen-focused learning environment to get students prepared to face the educational challenges of high school. Floyd County will also add additional support by having a drop-out interventionist, transition specialist, and social worker on site. 

The new Floyd County Performance Learning Center which will be located at the Floyd County Education Center on Morrison Campground Road in the Johnson community is designed to provide an alternative option for students who seek a non-traditional high school setting. The Performance Learning Center® (PLC) concept was developed by CIS Georgia to bring another learning option to local communities and young teens. The PLC model has been lauded by state and federal education officials as one of the most effective strategies for improving graduation rates. In 2007, 91 percent of the nation’s PLC students improved their academic performance, and 75.7 percent of PLC students classified as seniors at the beginning of the year graduated. Dr. Melinda Strickland, principal of the Floyd County Education Center, has been working to transform the school into an alternative education program and is excited about the possibilities. Strickland commented, “There is no "one size fits all" in education and the FCEC is focusing to meet the students where they are by providing them with the opportunity to develop work-ready and college-ready skills in whatever avenue they choose to pursue after graduation.” 

Floyd County Schools has been awarded a $160,000 grant from CIS Georgia to help fund the new learning center. The grant will be used for building renovations, computers, printers, software, networking/wiring, and instructional services. The local Rome-Floyd CIS affiliate will provide a CIS Services Coordinator for the program. The CIS Coordinator acts as a liaison with community volunteers, parents, colleges, businesses, and others involved in the program to provide mentors, job shadowing, and other services to the PLC students. The CIS coordinator provides a unique role as the individual focuses on non-academic issues that may affect a student’s ability to learn. The CIS grant for the new Floyd County PLC came from federal funds awarded the Georgia Department of Education in its Race to the Top application, which included plans to expand PLCs in Georgia. There are 21 PLCs operating in Georgia, and 18 in other states. 

According to information from Communities in Schools, it is the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization helping kids succeed in school and prepare for life. In Georgia, CIS reaches nearly 100,000 students in 68 school systems. Key program areas include Performance Learning Centers®, mentoring, parent education, literacy, technology and youth leadership development. Communities sponsoring CIS programs have seen an increase in their high school graduation rates, an increase in attendance and academic achievement, and a decrease in their dropout rates. For more information on how CIS is helping make a difference in students’ lives and working with Georgia educators to increase the graduation rate, visit www.cisga.org , www.cisnet.org, or www.cisrome-floyd.org.