September 18, 2012

Dropouts Earning Diplomas Online

By: Shernay Williams
Updated: September 13, 2012

Here’s an alarming statistic, today, 7,000 students in America dropped out of high school, according to the alliance for excellent education.

Now a national program called “No Dropouts” is helping former students earn their diplomas online.

Richland and Ouachita Parishes signed on to the program this fall.

Two weeks ago, 18-year-old Lloydous miles dropped out of Rayville High School.

“Regular school wasn’t working for me because the environment was not my thing.”

And he’s not alone. Roughly 50 students have quit Richland Parish Schools over the last 4 years.

“We have some students that drop out because they’re parenting; others drop out because their keeping younger siblings; some are taking jobs,” explains Georgia Ineichen of the Richland Parish School District.

But Miles is still on track to earn his diploma. He’s taking classes online, at his own pace.

“I have the space I need and the time to do my assignments,” he says.

We met him during a weekly study session at a local library.

The “No Dropouts” program has been a hit.

Students in the program are given laptops and they can log onto classes anywhere, anytime.

Doug Bonner helps school districts across the state establish “No Dropout” programs.

“We’ve seen kids finish a course in a week or two weeks, so its self paced,” he says.

Bonner says a diploma is so crucial in today’s job force; he’s seen students with GEDs want to join the program.

“The GED 10 years ago had a lot more value in the workplace. Now with a GED you can’t join the military or the police force,” he says. “Nowadays people are coming out of college and still struggling in the workplace.”

Miles sees the bigger picture.

If he passes two online courses a month, he’ll even be able to walk the stage with his class.

So, his message to dropouts?

“I’d tell them to join this program and I’ll personally help them.”

So far, eight parishes have signed on to the effort.

School districts pay for the program through MFP funding, and they only pay if students are successfully recruited and pass their first .5 credits.

It’s still unclear how Louisiana’s new education reforms will change that process, but officials with “No Dropouts” say their curriculum and procedures are state-approved.

To learn more, visit www.nodropouts.com