During the 2013-2014 school year, St. Louis Public Schools implemented an online program to help the district’s high-risk students complete high school. The district established Virtual Learning Centers within four high schools across the city that had the highest dropout rates.
Alex Wilson is a full-time mentor at one of these centers. Among his many responsibilities, it is his job to support part-time and full-time students in the computer lab, tutor students in multiple subjects, and ensure students stay on track to recover the credits they need to graduate.
Since 2013, Alex has used PEAK—FuelEd’s Personalized Learning Platform that empowers districts to personalize, integrate, and manage their online learning programs—to pinpoint students’ needs, provide them customized content, and track their progress. His students use PEAK to access their courses. Alex recently sat down with Melissa Davis from Fuel Education to talk about how he helps St. Louis Public School students catch up on credits to achieve on-time graduation; here’s what he had to say:
Melissa Davis (MD): What do you like about PEAK?
Alex Wilson (AW): PEAK makes it easy for students to access their courses, and it gives them greater flexibility as to when and where they complete their coursework. There are many high- risk students who can’t make it to school. With PEAK, they are able to access their assignments to work at their own pace and at times that work for them. It is a student-focused system that helps students who would otherwise not graduate.
MD: How does PEAK make your life easier?
AW: PEAK automatically organizes data. I can monitor my students’ progress and their coursework. I can export files, and keep track from one week to the next using mentor reports. I also can review my students’ progress with them each week. PEAK provides the resources I need to help keep my students on track to graduate.
MD: What would you tell another educator about PEAK?
AW: PEAK is a helpful tool to keep track of students’ work and help them make up credits. It can provide additional support to help students grasp concepts. With PEAK, you can have students working at varying levels in the same classroom at the same time.
MD: How does PEAK Library help you support your students’ learning?
AW: I use PEAK Library for my students who have Individualized Education Programs because it provides the remediation support some students need. For example, if I have a student completing Algebra, but he or she is not a good reader, I can use PEAK Library to modify the course to be appropriate for that student’s reading level.
MD: Do you have a favorite story about a student?
AW: I had a student who hung out with the wrong crowd and ended up in a life-threatening situation. It was a wake-up call for him, and he realized he needed to change his life. He buckled down and used PEAK to complete his coursework. Within three months, he finished eight courses and graduated from high school. Today he is studying music production in college.
Melissa C. Davis is Fuel Education’s senior manager of Client Communications.