Perry County Central High School (PCC) in Hazard, Kentucky has been a Plato Courseware partner for a decade, mainly using the program for credit recovery. The primary industry in this rural, eastern region of the state has long been coal mining. However, with the past decade’s economic downturn, closure of mines, and widespread layoffs, PCC decided it needed to make a concerted effort toward blended learning in an effort to prepare its students for a much more competitive economy.
Since then, the school has started depending on Plato Courseware for use in test preparation, summer school, and its adult education center. PCC’s graduation rates and college- and career-readiness scores (a mix of graduation rates, college preparedness, vocational abilities, and ACT® scores) have outpaced the state’s expectations.
PCC principal Michelle Ritchie recently discussed how Plato Courseware has fueled the school’s recent success.
You’ve been with Plato Courseware for almost a decade. What first attracted you to the program, and what kind of success have you seen over that time?
Ms. Ritchie: We have used the Plato program in our school since the 2005–2006 school year. We liked Plato’s ease of use for our teachers, as well as its accessibility compared to printed materials. Prior to the current school year, 1521 students have received services in credit recovery; 1059 of the 1521 (70 percent) of the students improved as a result of these services.
Do any of those years or students stand out?
Ms. Ritchie: Last year’s group did particularly well. Fifty seniors were enrolled in the credit recovery program. Seven of these students withdrew from school. Of the 43 that remained, only one did not graduate; 42 of the 43 students (98 percent) graduated, including six that were fifth-year seniors who may not have graduated without this program.
With all of this experience, do you have any advice for other schools just starting out with Plato Courseware or other Edmentum products?
Ms. Ritchie: Keep up-to-date records of student progress in the system, and work closely with administration, counselors, and parents to ensure the success of all students.
For more information about how Perry County Central High School is exceeding expectations, check out the whole success story.
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