Kansas City High SchoolProvides a Haven of Hope an Case Study
Kansas City High School Providesa Haven of Hope BackgroundProfile Hope Academy opened in August 2009 as a public charter school serving students throughout theSCHOOL Kansas City metropolitan area. Specifically geared to recover high school dropouts and enroll them inName: Hope Academy either diploma programs, Hope Academy offers students in Kansas City a second chance at academicLocation: Kansas City, Missouri success through customized curriculum and technology-based self-paced learning.Location Type: City – Population 482,000ODYSSEYWARE ChallengeEnrollment: Average total students - 215 In the late 1960s, the Kansas City School District had nearly 77,000 students, but the numbersFocus: Dropout Recovery have dwindled with a rush of families moving to suburban communities over the last five decades,Prevention, Credit Recovery resulting in a district only a quarter of its former size and educating only just over 16,000 per year. AsGrade level: 9-12 (Students ages 16-21) middle class and affluent families fled the city, the school district began a steady decline. In January,Period Examined: 2009 - present Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told Mayor Sly James that Kansas City’s 40 percent graduation rate for high school students is by far the worst in the nation. Hope Academy was created to give students who had given up on the system a second chance to get their high school diploma, and with it, a better chance at a successful future. approach Students who have dropped out of the Kansas City School District can enroll in Hope Academy and begin an individualized, online instructional program that meets the criteria set forth in their specialized Individual Learning Contract which is regularly monitored. After determining each student’s academic goals and assessing their proficiencies with ODYSSEYWARE diagnostic tools, students are assigned ODYSSEYWARE courses that will help them progress toward graduation. Students cannot move forward without attaining an 80 percent mastery level. Students are able to attend courses at the school but can also complete work from home due to anytime Internet access. With many students who have responsibilities outside of the school, course availability outside traditional school hours facilitates learning and enables academic success. Students at Hope Academy are required to take end-of-course MAP tests as required by the state. Not only do students have access to rigorous and relevant ODYSSEYWARE online courses, their growth is measured on an ongoing basis to ensure their progress. Because many students in the program do not have a strong support system in the home, counseling, social work, and health services are available in house or through referral. To support Hope Academy’s strong emphasis on career readiness, work study and internship programs are available as well as dual credit courses. The academy also supports students in choosing, gaining acceptance to, and securing financial resources to fund their academic goals in a post-secondary learning program.
conclusionSince opening in 2009 and implementing ODYSSEYWARE’s fully online learning management system,111 high school dropouts have been able to earn lost credits and graduate.Over the three years Hope Academy has been open it has established high academic standardsand achieved a graduation rate of 93.1 percent, amazing when compared to the Kansas City SchoolDistrict’s graduation rate of 40 percent. Missouri’s graduation rate for 2011 was 79.8 percent. GRADUATION RATES 100% Kansas City 80% State of Missouri 93.1% Hope Academy 60% 40% 79.8% 20% 0% 40%The school was recently featured by Melissa Harris-Perry in her Foot Soldiers news segmenton MSNBC.Rev. Michael Brooks, one of the founders of Hope Academy, told Harris-Perry, “For a lot of these kids,people had written them off. And so for these families to see that now they really have a real goodopportunity for a second chance, the excitement’s a little different for these kids that have been introuble or have had kids and a lot of times this was their last little bit of hope.”These students are excited about taking courses on the computer at a pace that works in their life.They appreciate their ability to complete courses more quickly. Because they are able to use theInternet to revisit lessons and meet the pass threshold, they feel a sense of success.Since 2009, Hope Academy and ODYSSEYWARE have created a partnership that gives students whohave dropped out of high school a second chance at academic success, and an opportunity to furthertheir education or find a successful career.As the State of Missouri considers new legislation to expand alternative learning programs andincrease accountability for these schools, Hope Academy stands out as a shining example of whatlearning should and can be for students in urban environments.Through the use of technology, and under the guidance of caring local teachers, students at HopeAcademy are looking forward to the future and leading productive lives. ODYSSEYWARE • 300 N. McKemy Ave. • Chandler, AZ 85226 • 877.795.8904 odysseyware.com