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Dougherty's new learning center ready to open next month.

The new College and Career Performance Learning Center will target potential dropouts

Dougherty County Schools Director of Curriculum Ufot Inyang (File Photo)

Dougherty County Schools Director of Curriculum Ufot Inyang (File Photo)

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Albany Technical College President Anthony Parker (File Photo)

ALBANY — Dougherty County’s new College and Career Performance Learning Center (CCPLC) is set to begin operation next month with an anticipated 64 students.

The program was initiated by Butch Mosely, interim superintendent of the Dougherty County School System, Anthony Parker, president of Albany Technical College, and Virginia Monroe, executive director for Communities In Schools of Georgia, Dougherty County, last summer amid reports of high numbers of high school students lagging behind their peers in graduation credits.

The three-way partnership is designed to improve graduation rates, reduce dropouts, and provide high school students an accelerated path to graduation that has the potential to add college credit to the academic progress of students while creating dual enrollment opportunities with Albany Tech.

The Dougherty County Board of Education approved the program in late October and approved hiring four teachers and a counselor/graduation coach Monday evening.

“These students will receive individualized instruction by highly qualified teachers using accelerated learning software,” said Dr. Inyang. “They will work toward high school credit completion at school and at home or after hours with the goal of catching up and earning their high school diploma in record time. This will also ease the transition to Albany Technical College for a chosen course of study. Parent involvement is expected to support online instruction and volunteer support for student success.”

Since the announcement of the program in early November, the CCPLC has had significant response from students interested in enrolling. Last week, Ufot Inyang, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, reported that the program has received 64 application packages from 75 students who were recommended by principals, guidance counselors and graduation coaches in the system’s four high schools.

Students who are accepted will receive letters informing them of the date to report for interviews, the last step in the intake process. A parent orientation will be held Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m., where information about program expectations, schedules and transportation will be delivered. The parent-student orientation will be held in the Logistics Education Center Auditorium.

In order to take classes for college credit, students must pass the COMPASS test offered for entry at Albany Tech. Sixty-five students have tested with a higher than predicted pass rate for the assessment. Nearly half of those tested either passed all sections or need only one section to complete testing requirements for joint enrollment credit.

“The Communities In Schools Performance Learning Center (PLC) has proven its ability to enable potential school dropouts to become successful students and graduate from high school with a regular diploma by focusing on credit recovery.” ATC and the DCSS said in a joint news release announcing the new program. “ATC will further these efforts by offering these students the opportunity to dually enroll to earn college credit. The outcome of the partnership will impact both the DCSS graduation rate as well as provide students with an opportunity to access ATC programs and better prepare for today’s workforce.”

The expansion of the Performance Learning Center is intended to increase the number of students currently being served while expanding the postsecondary education access for students to ATC and its academic programs. Initially, the DCSS will support the expansion by working to grow the enrollment of the program to a target of 200 to 250 students by next school year.

The program will be housed in the former vocation wing at Monroe High School to help facilitate direct access to college educational resources at ATC. The college will support the expansion by providing access for students to its Academic Achievement Center (AAC) on campus, by working to support pre-COMPASS diagnostic testing and COMPASS remediation, as well as offering a survey course to expose DCSS students to many different potential career fields.

Students or parents interested in the program may inquire at their current high schools.