Success Center

DCSS Committed to Providing Non-traditional Routes to Graduation
Posted on 08/30/2018
Douglas County has a new name and a new focus for its non-traditional high school programs: the Douglas County Success Center.

While Douglas County provides the traditional high school experience in its five high schools, for several years it has provided paths to graduation for students who prefer a non-traditional setting. Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, all of the non-traditional programs are now clustered under the umbrella of the Douglas County Success Center, which is housed at the former Factory Shoals Elementary School building on Shoals School Road.

According to Superintendent Trent North, the establishment of the Success Center will strengthen all of the non-traditional programs. “We want all students in Douglas County, regardless of circumstances, to have the opportunity for an educational experience that suits their needs,” said Superintendent Trent North. “For some high school students, this means off-campus online learning. For others it means going to school at night.”

The Success Center is headed by Dr. Andre Touchard, who has 25 years of experience in education and a commitment to finding the right path to graduation for every student.

Performance Learning Center (PLC)
The largest program at the Success Center is the Performance Learning Center (PLC), which was established in 2006. Students at the PLC ride the bus from their base high school and begin class at 9am. Six certified teachers work with students in a blended learning model. Students are able to work at their own pace through an online platform, but are assisted by teachers certified in science, math, language arts, and social studies. Students are provided breakfast and lunch in the school cafeteria.

At the PLC, students who are behind in high school credits have the opportunity to catch up on credits and graduate on time since they can work at an accelerated pace. Likewise, some students who are on track to graduate on time but desire to graduate early can work at an accelerated pace and graduate a semester or even a year ahead of schedule. Some students who need only two or three credits to graduate find the PLC the perfect place to finish up their high school coursework. 

To be admitted to the PLC, students must complete an application, submit transcripts, and express why they are a good candidate for the PLC model. An interview with the student and parent is also required. The PLC is partially supported by Communities in Schools, a national non-profit with the mission of surrounding students with communities of support. 

Virtual Academy (VA)
Another program at the Success Center is the Virtual Academy (VA), which currently serves 36 high school students who work from home on an online platform. Tonya Johnson serves as the academic coordinator and is a resource for students when they need assistance with their online courses. Content teachers from the Success Center are also available to assist students as needed. 

Students in the VA are encouraged to attend tutoring sessions on campus every Wednesday, and they are required to participate in a college and career session once a month. They also must come to campus to take mid-terms and final exams.

“It’s the perfect way to get through high school courses for those students who are capable but who prefer not to be in a classroom setting or who are unable to attend class during traditional school hours for a variety of family or personal issues,” said Ms. Johnson. “The VA path provides flexibility that many students and families desire, and it also provides many levels of support for students.”

Project Eclipse
Night school at the Success Academy is called Project Eclipse, where students may take classes from 4:30pm 8:30pm, Monday through Thursday. Like the PLC, students are supervised by content area teachers using an online platform. Project Eclipse attracts student who need to work or attend to family needs during the day. Students are typically juniors or seniors in high school.

Advantage Academy
The Advantage Academy at the Success Center is an alternative program serving middle and high school students who have been removed from the traditional school setting due to disciplinary infractions. Students may attend the Advantage Academy for as few as nine weeks or as long as a full year. They transition back to their home-based school after completing their assigned time and meeting required goals. Two sessions are offered, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and students may continue their work online at home. The program is a blended model of online learning and traditional instructional practices. 

Except for the Advantage Academy, students in all programs at the Success Center may participate in sports and extracurricular activities at their home high schools, provided they meet eligibility requirements at the schools.
 
Parents and students interested in the programs offered at the Success Center should contact a counselor at their home high school to learn more about the application process.
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