Norfolk School Board approves Open Campus
Jordan Crawford | 8/25/2014, 2:36 p.m.
In keeping with the No Child Left Behind campaign’s idea the Norfolk School Board unanimously voted to open a special, redesigned program for dropouts and students who have fallen behind.
The program aims to provide an alternative path to earning a diploma and boost overall academic progress. The program was previously delayed because of budget and preparation concerns.
The Open Campus is now slated to open Sept. 29 and serve 125 students - 100 slots for dropouts and 20 middle schoolers who are behind by about two years, and five slots for high schoolers behind by five or more credits. School officials acknowledged the speedy schedule at last Wednesday’s board meeting, but said bringing back students will add to the division’s bottom line. A roster of eligible students already has been identified.
Norfolk Public Schools expects to receive about $429,478 in state money for additional students. The total program cost is $677,500. With other budget adjustments, an $18,000 gap remains. The division will find the money without harming other programs, said CFO Michael Thornton.
The program will offer small class sizes, credit recovery, individualized learning plans, and Internet-based instruction.
The program model provides a path for students who are so far behind that it’s difficult for them to catch up in a traditional school setting, said Superintendent Samuel King. Students will take classes in a school building on East Little Creek Road that is currently owned by Calvary Revival Church. The division will pay no rent for the first two years but will cover operating expenses and utilities, school officials said.
Two companies, EdisonLearning Inc. and Magic Johnson Bridgescape, will work with the division to run the program, similar to others across the country. The division pays $4,000 per student. Magic Johnson Bridgescape will assemble the administrative team. Norfolk will help hire teachers, a guidance counselor and a custodian, and will provide meals. An advisory board also will be established.
The program is one part of a divisionwide Transformation Initiative the board approved earlier this year. Its new format will serve half the number of students initially planned, a change school officials attribute to budget constraints. The division hopes to expand the program in the future.