MP academy to start in January

When the second semester starts in mid-January, Madison-Plains Local Schools likely will have an academy in place to accommodate high school students for whom the traditional school set-up is not a good fit.

The academy will be housed in the former administrative offices, a modular unit located on the edge of the middle school parking lot.

“The purpose of us putting an academy in is to assist kids who are teetering on not graduating or leaving school,” Clark said. “The idea is to retain students here at Madison-Plains.”

Eighteen Madison-Plains students are enrolled at London Academy, a program operated by London City Schools. Others are enrolled in similar programs through the Miami Trace and Greeneview local school systems. Clark wants to provide local students with a chance to remain in school close to home.

Participation in the Madison-Plains academy will be determined on a case-by-case basis, Clark said. The reasons the academy might be the right place for certain students are wide-ranging. Truancy, a high failure rate in classes, extenuating circumstances at home, and behavioral issues are just some of the reasons. Priority will be placed on seniors, homing in on what they need to graduate.

Madison-Plains has signed on with American School, an organization that provides materials and support for academies. Clark will submit transcripts for each academy student to American School, which will then customize a curriculum for each student, complete with textbooks, lessons, homework and tests. The coursework can be general track or college preparatory. The important thing, Clark said, is that it will be individualized.

Other academies in the area are virtual, meaning students complete coursework at home via computer. Madison-Plains’ set-up will be different. Madison-Plains academy students will report to the modular building each weekday, where they will complete their coursework under adult supervision.

“What I have suggested is that we have certified teachers assigned each day. For example, Mondays could be math day; we’d have a math teacher there to help the students if they need it. Tuesday could be social studies day, and so on,” Clark said.

Academy students will be given timelines for completing their work and likely will report to an American School instructor once a week, Clark said. He noted that academy hours will not follow the usual 7 a.m.-to-3 p.m. school day. Afternoon and evening hours are more likely to accommodate students who need to schedule around work or transportation needs.

Financially, the expenses associated with American School will be covered by the money Madison-Plains receives from the state for each student enrolled in the district, money the district loses when students choose to get their education elsewhere. Madison-Plains receives approximately $5,600 per student from the state.

As for Clark’s idea of supervising the academy with certified teachers, he said Superintendent Bernie Hall will decide if this is a go and how it will be funded.

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