Schools use non-traditional methods to help kids graduate - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Schools use non-traditional methods to help kids graduate

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Calhoun County graduates pose for a picture.  Administrators say their flexibility plan helped these students graduate. Calhoun County graduates pose for a picture. Administrators say their flexibility plan helped these students graduate.
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Alabama's Accountability Act does more than give children in failing schools a chance to transfer.

It gives school systems more flexibility to create methods to help potential drop-outs graduate.

And it could include some non-traditional tactics.

Tuesday's State Board of Education meeting was a milestone for one Alabama school system.

"It's a new day for public education," says State Superintendent, Dr. Tommy Bice. 

The board approved a flexibility plan from Calhoun County school administrators--something the system has been trying out for two years now.

"To individualize and personalize education," adds Sherill Parris, Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning.

State administrators say the Accountability Act's flexibility provision gives school systems the chance to think outside the box and create methods to meet students where they are with graduating as the goal.

"What has bound us forever have been rules to say well school starts at 8:00 and school ends at 3:00," adds Dr. Julie Hannah, Director of the Office of Student Learning.

Calhoun County's plan allows for online classes, non-traditional schedules and widespread community support.

Since its start, 15 students at risk of dropping out graduated.

"They help the students see a different future for themselves and that makes the difference," adds Parris.

The new law gives school systems the ability to use money how they see fit, with approval from the state department.

Montgomery Public School officials say the state also approved a flexibility plan to improve their alternative program.

The idea is gaining momentum.

"We are being very pressed and are responding to requests from principals and superintendents and district leaders who want the paperwork," adds Parris.

Calhoun County school officials call this plan 'anywhere, anytime, anyplace' education.

They say they haven't decreased the rigor, but are increasing support for each troubled student.

The state also gained more flexibility when the federal government released Alabama from No Child Left Behind requirements.

State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice says local officials are now setting state accountability standards.

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