EdisonLearning UK’s partner, Kingsthorpe College, is again planning a seven day return visit to the Chicago-area, to expand and develop the discoveries made during our visit in 2016 with the new cohort of Year 12 Take Flight students. Their itinerary would include: a visit to an elementary school, an inner-city main stream high school, and a university (such as Loyola University). They also plan to re-visit Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy in Gary, and the Chicago-area Bridgescape Academies.
The trip is intended to continue the links, both cultural and educational, between Kingsthorpe College and its U.S. partner schools, as well as further develop an understanding of the different education systems in both countries. While in 2016, the UK students were able to learn a great deal about the education system in America, the students felt that they would like to know more about the transition to and from high school and the process of achieving a high school diploma.
The UK students have also continued to develop the Social Justice project they began at TRCCA and would like to be able to continue and develop this further – the issue they chose, healthcare, will continue to be high profile especially in light of recent political changes.
Travelling to Chicago offers a unique and exceptional opportunity for the Kingsthorpe students to experience America, its culture and education system and politics, as well as allowing them to share their own cultural and educational backgrounds and experiences. There is no doubt that the students who were part of Take Flight this year have benefitted hugely from it and the circulation of information about the trip to the students of Kingsthorpe College has been well received.
The photo is of the Kingsthorpe College students who will participate on this year’s Project Take Flight. It was taken at a recent fund raising ball to help finance the trip. The students are (left to right): Corey Churchman, Conor Cotter, Abbie Coleman - Deputy Director of English at Kingsthorpe College, Northampton, and Harvey Gaskill. Seated (left to right) are: Olivia Boyce and Abigail Medland.
The Florida State Department of Education has released its 2016-17 ratings for all of the public schools in the state, and five of the six EdisonLearning/Mavericks schools received the highest or mid-range ratings.
Unlike many other states, Florida law provides specific school improvement ratings for alternative schools that provide dropout prevention and academic intervention services. Instead of a standard letter grade, alternative schools may elect to receive a school improvement rating in lieu of a grade. The school improvement rating identifies schools as having one of the following ratings defined according to rules of the State Board of Education: “Commendable”, “Improving”, “Maintaining”, “Declining”, and “Unsatisfactory”.
The school improvement ratings are based on learning gains comparisons between the current and prior year. The percentage of students making learning gains at the school are compared to the percentage of students (from the same population) making learning gains in the prior year.
Andrews High School in Pompano Beach, Chambers High School in Homestead, and Main Street High School in Kissimmee all received the highest rating of “Commendable”. Mavericks High in North Miami, and Mavericks High in Palm Springs both received a rating of “Maintaining”.
Throughout EdisonLearning’s school network, there were 11 Graduation Ceremonies over the past month, representing 14 schools, and more than 1,000 high school diplomas were awarded. Congratulations to all of the members of the Class of 2017.
EdisonLearning Alternative Learning Programs Have Now Produced More Than 2,500 High School Graduates
Since EdisonLearning opened Bridgescape Academies in Ohio in 2011; the company’s alternative learning program has grown and resulted in more than 2,500 students earning their high school diplomas in six states.
Just as important as the total number of graduates, has been the progressive rise in the overall yearly graduation rate.
The 10 Graduation events, which will conclude this weekend in Dayton, have awarded 639 high school diplomas (nearly double previous year numbers) in Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, as well at six locations in Florida.
As was stated in 2011, when the Bridgescape program was created:
“With the number one predictor of success in life being a high school diploma, EdisonLearning is accelerating its efforts to provide an effective and personalized program for those students who want to graduate from high school. The leading international educational solutions provider’s Bridgescape Dropout Recovery and Prevention Centers will provide at-risk and recently dropped-out high school students the chance to earn diplomas.”
Six years later, it is clear that the company is “advancing our belief that every student – given the right tools, support and environment – is capable of exceeding their expectations, and complete their high school education, giving them the ability to continue onto college, attend vocational school, or enter the workforce.”
On Friday, June 2, the 201 graduates of Main Street High/Mavericks in Kissimmee, FL; as well as family, and friends were the beneficiaries of a powerful and inspirational address by school alum – Christian Sanchez. His candid assessment of his life, prior to attending Main Street High, and how he has influenced by the school’s teachers and staff, is a strong testament to the work being done in Florida, and in all of our Bridgescape Academies.
The following is the text of Christian’s remarks to the graduates.
When I arrived at Main Street High, my life changed. I went from being a lost, punk kid, to a young man with hope for a successful and happy future. I grew up being labeled a troublemaker, being told I’d never succeed. But I’ve learned that nothing is impossible and that God has a purpose for each of our lives.
As a young teenager, I used to roam around Kissimmee with groups of friends, doing nothing productive, wondering what my purpose in life was. I first arrived at this school with a 1.8 GPA, 8 or 9 credits, and even a criminal background. I was 15 years old . . . My previous school asked me to leave, because of a pending felony charge. I was a depressed teenager and I felt like a failure, like a lost cause—I felt like a reject.
But then something happened… I came to Main Street High looking for a second chance at life. I had recently given my life to Christ at the age of 15, and I was determined to prove the world wrong, that I was no longer a lost cause—and that even a punk kid like me, with a bit of low self-esteem and a weird personality; even a punk kid like me could become a world changer, so help me God. And Main Street High did give me a second chance.
Main Street High is unique. This school gave me a clean slate and opportunities that no one else would give me. The faculty never saw me as just another number; they showed love to me and never judged me for my past. I felt like family here. I could walk into the guidance counselor’s office at any time, Ms. Heather Greene at the time, and bug her to death for anything I needed. And I knew without a doubt that if I needed help with a class, I could just go to Blue Room and bug Mr. Bodner. I knew for sure that he would teach me anything I needed to learn. I thank God for bringing me to this school, where a punk kid like me could find hope for the future, and a new beginning.
Here’s some of what the school allowed me to achieve: In my first year at Main Street High, I finished 11 classes. I went from troublemaker to honor-roll student. This school put me through the dual enrollment program, where my first semester of college was paid in full. I went from arriving at Main Street High with 9 credits, a 1.8 GPA, and a criminal background at 15 years old, to graduating from Main Street High with a 3.5 GPA with honors, and some college credits just before I turned 17. No one else believed in me, but Main Street High did.
This alone was a miracle to me. But it wasn’t just about graduating high school; Main Street High opened doors for me even after graduation. This school opened doors for the future. I went on to join the honors program at Valencia College, for a full scholarship towards my Associates Degree, and was also involved in Student Government, and an academic honors society. Just after graduating from Main Street High, I completed a summer internship with a local congressman, despite my earlier juvenile record. Within a year of graduating from Main Street High, I received personal recognition from the Governor of Florida. In a televised press release at Valencia, the Governor shared some of my story. I went on to obtain my Associates Degree with honors and a 4.0 GPA. I also gained a transfer scholarship to Harvard University’s Extension School where I’m currently enrolled and finishing my Bachelor’s degree. I’m studying government and finance, and I’m pursuing law school and my own investment firm in the near future.
It still blows my mind that a young kid with my background would even be considered for the opportunities I’ve been given, much of which I owe to Main Street High. But school is just one part of my story. . . Ever since my life changed when I was 15, I’ve been involved in the youth ministry at The Rock Church. The people here have showed me love and guidance throughout my journey, and even when the world called me a reject, this church treated me like a son. I’m 19 now and I know that nothing is impossible with God.
No matter where we’ve come from, what mistakes we’ve made, I know God has a plan and a purpose for us.
On June 6, 112 graduates received their high school diplomas from Palm Beach Central High/Mavericks; and on June 7, another 91 graduates will receive their diplomas from North Miami Mavericks.