Aliza Porter

Math teacher Mark Matthews instructs students while they are working on coursework at the Academic Academy. The SOC has typically about 150 students enrolled in the program at any time.

Chapter 2: the Academic Academy

October 17, 2019

In April 2019, 148 students were enrolled in the Academic Academy, all working to get caught up on credits.

“Under that program, we take 9 through 12 grades students,” former SOC principal Sue Kirk said. “We first, of course, make sure we get our 12th grade students in, because the whole thing is, the main focus of that program is if students are behind in credits, then we’re to get them over here, so they can graduate on time, or as near on time, as possible. If a student goes into their senior year, and needs 12 credits to graduate, they can’t get those 12 credits on a campus so we accelerate. Our curriculum is accelerated in the Academic Academy.”

If a student goes into their senior year, and needs 12 credits to graduate, they can’t get those 12 credits on a campus so we accelerate.”

— former SOC principal Sue Kirk

Freshmen students that have failed classes in the first semester now have the chance to end the year with all their credits via the ninth grade academy.

“Let’s say they failed either three to four of their core classes,” Kirk said. “We get them over here, we get those first semester credits made up within the first six weeks that they’re over here, and then we do their second semester ninth grade courses. The goal of that part of the program is to have those students have enough credits stand to be 10th graders next year, because if they stay on their home campus, the chances of them being 10 graders if they failed everything first semester, are very slim. We’re trying to help them accelerate on the front end so they don’t end up as a senior behind in credit.”

Although some students fall behind as a result of moving to Frisco, new students from elsewhere in Texas and even across the world can catch up with the credit recovery program.

“I am originally not from here,” former Centennial High School student Joy Mwatha said. “I’m from Africa and when I came here, I missed half of my freshman year, so I was way behind on credits so I was recommended to come here to the SOC in order to catch up on my credits.”

The SOC uses blended learning in order to help accelerate the students. One of the methods is to use Edgenuity which includes credit recovery courses designed to help students who have fallen behind to focus on exactly the skills they need to so they can graduate on time. 

“We use that program, but our teachers also do a more blended piece than what they do on the campuses,” Kirk said. “On the campuses if they’re in credit recovery, they pretty much just get put in that online class and the student just works on it. Here, our teachers may use parts of Edgenuity, and then they may supplement it with their own work to do, but basically, the program is streamlined, so the classes are streamlined.”

For students like Mwatha, the credit recovery program helped in stimulating progress.

When I came here, I kicked into full gear. I was doing my work. I even got to the end of the month on time.”

— former student Joy Mwatha

“It has impacted me because when I came here, I never used to do my work at all,” Mwatha said. “When I came here, I kicked into full gear. I was doing my work. I even got to the end of the month on time. So yeah, like, it just affected me to work super hard.”

The SOC also utilizes instructional coaches in the building that serve multiple roles such as teaching, helping other teachers with classroom and academic situations, and bringing information from the district to the teachers.

“The main thing we make sure is that all the subject areas are hitting the TEKS, that’s our number one,” math teacher Mark Matthews said. “Not only the TEKS, but also our main goal applies for each subject area and each one is different. We have head teachers for each subject area that kind of touch in with them and see what they’re doing and what they need, and make sure that those kids are following the same guidelines as what is on the normal campus.”

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