Program making dent in dropouts

It’s never been more important than now for young people to earn their high school diploma. And that’s why it’s so satisfying to see programs like the one in Clinton City Schools, which sets its sights on potential dropouts and aims to keep them motivated, in school and on the track to graduation.

It’s called the 22-Credit Program, and has been in use at Clinton High School since 2011. Carried out by Louie Boykin and supported strongly by CHS principal Dr. Steven Miller, the program focuses its attention on providing students an alternative to throwing their hands up in frustration and walking away from school, without an education or the diploma they desperately need to succeed in today’s society.

Though it delineates from the traditional school schedule that doesn’t work for all students, the program does require participants to take 16 core courses and be involved in the regular classroom setting, ensuring that they remain a part of the school environment and learn to get along with other students.

Every element of the program is vital to reaching students who simply cannot find success in the normal educational tracts. Whether the student has had attendance, behavior, drug or alcohol problems — all indicators of a potential dropout — the 22-Credit Program allows these young people to find a niche and, in many, many cases, success.

Since its inception, 80 student have graduated, earning a diploma and entering the workforce or moving on to an institute of higher learning.

That is a remarkable number for a small school system like Clinton City. That’s 80 young people who were given a second educational chance; 80 individuals who could have walked away from school and had fewer chances at success; 80 folks who likely want find themselves on Social Services rolls, in jail or in the unemployment line because they don’t have the necessary skills or education to be hired.

We applaud Boykin and Miller for their tenacity and their ability to reach students that many would think are simply unreachable, and we appreciate the Clinton City Schools administration for its willingness to continue to support a program that is clearly making a difference in the lives of young people.

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