"As some of our dropouts succeed at the Digital School, they regain confidence in their ability to achieve academically. Many enroll in traditional high schools to complete their secondary education. Parents who had given up hope are grateful that their student will earn a diploma rather than a GED."
Kandy Claybaugh is the force behind the Digital School at the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs, an online school designed for about 100 high school students annually who have dropped out or need to recover credits. The school provides them an opportunity to earn a diploma without the constraints of a traditional school year or five-days-a-week schedule. They can complete a course in less than a semester or take longer if they need it.
Students study one course at a time at the Citadel Mall in the oneroom school model, with a licensed teacher who acts as a facilitator. Teachers are able to meet the individual needs of each student, and credit for the course is transferred back to the student's home high school. Students select the day and time they would like to reserve a computer and a teacher to assist them as they progress through their course work. Adelphia Communications donated the cable modems which make this program feasible. During the 2003-2004 academic year, 75 students who attended the school earned a diploma, and the graduation rate of Colorado Springs School District Eleven rose 3.8%.
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