Thirty West Charlotte High seniors who attended a new LIFT Academy are expected to log one of the first concrete steps toward boosting the school’s graduation rate.
When the year began, they lacked the credits to graduate with the Class of 2013. After taking personalized classes that blend teacher instruction and online courses, they are expected to claim diplomas at Saturday’s ceremony.
The credit recovery program, which included mentoring, tutoring and life-skills training, is part of Project LIFT, a partnership between Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and private donors who have pledged $55 million over the next five years to boost achievement in the West Charlotte zone.
One of the project’s biggest goals is to boost the graduation rate from 56 percent in 2012 to 90 percent by 2017. The 2012-13 school year was the first year of Project LIFT.
According to a report from Superintendent Heath Morrison, 55 seniors who couldn’t graduate with their class on a traditional schedule were assigned to the academy, located on the West Charlotte campus. “Many had fallen off the graduation pathway due to a myriad of challenges that included pregnancy, incarceration, homelessness, gang activity and loss of loved ones,” Morrison’s report says.
In addition to the 30 who earned enough credits to graduate on time, another five are expected to graduate after summer school.
North Carolina tallies on-time graduation rates by tracking students who graduate four years after they enter as ninth-graders. West Charlotte had 394 students who counted toward that tally last year, according to state reports. The addition of 30 on-time graduates would have bumped the rate from 56 percent to almost 64 percent. This year’s graduation numbers have not been released.
The academy will continue in 2013-14 in an off-site location, Morrison reported.
Helms: 704-358-5033; Twitter @anndosshelms
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