A special alternative program offers flexible scheduling, independent study as students earn diploma credits toward graduation. In Park Rapids, Minnesota, The Headwaters Educational Learning Program (HELP) in partnership with The Alternative Learning Center provides an independent study diploma program for students from 16-21 years of age. Instruction is individualized, and credits are awarded on the basis of performance or independent study.
Brandi Benham, a teen mom, is finding that the program is a great opportunity and allows her to finish credits necessary for graduation.
“As a teen mom it’s awesome,” she said. “It’s more independent and one-on-one.”
The opportu7nity is appreciated by Jordan Walters as well
“It’s awesome. We love it,” she said. “It’s not like in a classroom with a 1-to-30 ratio. It’s 1-to-1 and I don’t feel lost.”
Coordinator and lead teacher Lisa Coborn is encouraged by the interest in enrollment. “We have close to 30 students with 20 or so coming to the day program,” she said. “We’re juggling all sorts of coursework.”
“I’m amazed at where it’s at. Lisa has put a ton of effort into it,” said High School Principal Jeff Johnson. “Our numbers are topping where we thought they’d be.”
Word of the program has traveled, as students tell their friends, and then they tell their friends.
“We have had some great conversations with kids who need eight credits to graduate and others who need 40 and they can’t finish before they turn 21,” he said. “Those kids are steered toward the GED program.”
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