Bentley Community Schools new teaching tool - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Bentley Community Schools new teaching tool

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(02/05/12) - Each year, about 15,000 Michigan students drop out of high school. For many, that move comes with negative effects, both professionally and financially.

Bentley Community Schools in Burton is launching an innovative program to encourage students to finish their studies.

While online learning has been around for years, Bentley's version hopes to reach at risk students.

Faced with an annual drop out rate of around 11 percent in Michigan, educators are trying new ways to encourage teens to finish their education.

"'FUSION' is a blended online learning academy. It's a diploma pathway for students who are either, currently not in school at all, or who are considering dropping out of school," says Bentley Community Schools superintendent Rebekah Dupuis.

Bentley High School is trying a program designed for students who have had difficulty with traditional classroom learning, or those who might have dropped out to work and help support their families.

"What they used to be able to accomplish through either a GED process or simply no high school diploma or GED, is that they could work and make an honest wage and they could get by. But, nowadays, options are closed off," Dupuis said.

The program is so new to Bentley that 30 computer stations have yet to be installed. State grants for at risk students will cover the cost of the program.

For Dupuis, who is new to the district, its all about finding new ways to help teens reach their potential. "We have coaches. We have teachers, highly qualified teachers who will be here working with the students three to four days a week, four hours a day, to really make sure they are experiencing success."

In the Bentley district alone, more than 200 students have been identified as FUSION candidates.

Bentley's open house continues until 7 p.m. Tuesday at their portable building behind the Junior High School.

Students can enroll for FUSION through next Wednesday.

For more information on the program, click HERE or can call Bentley Community Schools at 810-591-9120.

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