In response to the post, “Credit Recovery / Failure Prevention,” a reader writes:

“The credit recovery issue is like ‘shutting the gate after the cows are gone.’ You cannot wait one year, two years, or certainly not a third year to implement a freshmen credit recovery strategy. 80% of the third year freshman will have already dropped out before the third year starts. In fact, according to research, only 20% of freshman students who have failed Algebra I and one other core class will ever graduate.

Here are some suggested freshman recovery strategies:

A. Have your best teachers to teach your most “fragile” freshman instead of assigning the “last one hired” to teach freshman.

B. Do not keep freshman classified as freshman for a second year. Almost always they have new administrators and counselors who take most of the year to identify their problems. The second year freshman gets lost in the shuffle and never recovers. We lay the blame on the student, and staff moves on and leaves their mess for the new staff.

C. Assign failing freshman to an Accelerated Learning Team (ALT), or group of highly skilled communicators and highly motivated teachers, who can monitor their academic participation and social progress throughout the day. Allow 2nd year freshman to work daily on recovery with these teachers and do not expect or depend on computer based instruction or extra time after school to make up credits. These students must be taught, monitored, and coached daily by the ALT leaders.

As Sean mentions this is the Achilles Heel and it is compounded by school leaders who initiate a program, regardless of effectiveness, and feel good about it, regardless of the student losses.”

SC Response
Excellent comment with a number of valid points and suggestions. If you have time, send us more on your ALT concept.

The more I assist campuses with this problem, the more I become an advocate for failure prevention. Schools have plenty of data that warns them that students are in academic danger; prior year state test results, progress reports, test grades, missed homework, and attendance are just the most blatant examples. Yet, in the face of this mounting evidence, we generally do one of two things. We either wait, or we blame the student. Let me be a blunt, when we do this, as educators, this means that we are either ignorant, apathetic, or incompetent. None of which is a label I want used to describe me, my staff, of my campus.

That being the case, we have to use data to change the future, not predict it. Three weeks into a grading cycle, when a student is struggling, do something about it, right then. Change the future for that student and the school.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…