A new vision for Community High

A new vision for Community High School would have students dress as if they were at the workplace. This new vision was presented during a Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) school board work session on March 12.

Community High offers an alternative to traditional educational that other high schools in the county offer and for the most part offers students a second chance at making school work for them.

The vision would include some new guidelines and opportunities for students and parents, but the vision put forth in the work session would need to be approved by the Board at a regular public meeting.

Students and parents will apply and participate in an interview to be accepted in Community High School. Students and parents must sign a contract agreeing to performance and behavioral expectations. Students will have the option of attending morning or afternoon classes and will be placed in a family unit that provides a support system throughout high school.

We have to believe that our students can achieve whatever they want to achieve. Whether they end up in college right now or have a technical skill, said Donna Dalton, CCPS Chief Academic Officer, and her team, who presented the new vision to the School Board.

A new guideline that may be difficult for some students would be expected to report to school dressed as they would if they worked at a place of business; will have the same expectations as a business and be expected to report each day ready to work. Students would also be provided more discipline with firm guidelines and rules while allowing them to form closer relationships with teachers and administrators within the school.

Curriculum would be much different from what is seen at traditional high schools in the county. Students will participate in a blended learning environment for required core academic courses and individualized learning will be accomplished with the assistance of technology.

“Some of the tech courses are work related, whether that would be, on site or at the tech center.” said David S. Wyman, School Board Chairman.

The majority of student work will be completed in class; homework is not required and a point system will be used instead of traditional grades. Community has the lowest graduation rate of any school in the Chesterfield. And, according to school officials, that has to be expected given that the school is an alternative learning school.

“We have to believe that our students can achieve whatever they want to achieve. Whether they end up in college right now or have a technical skill,” Ms. Dalton said.

Students will be expected to participate in community [non school] activities, as well as attending group and individual counseling that includes conflict resolution, stress management, anger management, fighting fair, and making wise decisions. Parents will be required to attend quarterly active parenting skill classes.

The school will continue its low teacher to student ratio and small student population and a total commitment to enable each student and teacher to be successful.

“At a visit to Community I noticed a bulletin board with the names of teachers who have excelled that month. At some of the businesses I have visited in the area have a bulletin board that lists the workers who have achieved [success as an incentive.”] said Bermuda District School Board Member Carrie Coyner.

This new vision is expected to reduce truancy; improve student attitudes toward school; accumulate high school credits; and reduce behavior problems.

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