By: Lydia Crawley
The Parsons Advocate
The Tucker County Board of Education met in open session with Tucker County High School Principal Alex Cork updating the Board on the Virtual Education Courses offered in the county.
“The biggest thing I would stress to you guys,” Cork said, “is with the Ingenuity Program, the ability for us to run in-house our credit recovery program, without relying on somebody in Charleston’s schedule, makes a world of difference for our kids.”
Cork informed the board that the program has allowed for credit recovery in all subjects. “We used a credit recovery in every core subject which meant Math, Science, English and Social Studies. Every one of those subjects we were able to have a credit recovery within the year. We didn’t have to wait for the Department of Ed’s West Virginia Learning Program to open up. They didn’t have to wait for summer to work on that recovery. We were able to do it live during the school year which is a good thing.”
The program, according to Cork, has allowed students to recover credits and has led to students being able to graduate at the end of summer school without repeating a school year. “Several Seniors would not have likely been able to graduate without that because we would have had to wait for that schedule and so there are graduates of our school system because that program is in place there.”
Cork said the program has expanded with summer school this year and attributed the expansion in part to the county’s partnership with WVU and the strict prerequisites for some dual credit courses. “And that even goes further of what they’ve done with it this summer. 24 students are taking an Ingenuity Course right now. Four students have finished four additional credits. Most of those are doing some initial credits,” Cork said. “By opening up with WVU and that partnership, they have some pretty strict prerequisites to take those classes. And so those kids can take those classes, both those classes we are offering though WVU, they needed to be ahead in math. So, they’re doing that this
Cork also informed the Board that the program is aiding greatly in keeping students from falling behind when paired with the school’s early warning for risk of drop-out. “Particularly proud of one young lady who is on track to complete three (credit recovery). Not so proud of the three she needed credit recovery in, but at least she’s not getting behind. We have an early warning system that we monitor that would have flagged her as a drop-out risk. We’re going to be able to avoid that.”
Cork attributed the program to the graduation of two students this year who would not have been able to graduate without the opportunity the program provided. “We had two students, we only had two students, that did not meet graduation criteria at the time of graduation. I’m proud to say that both of those are now graduates,” Cork said. “So after summer school’s over July 28th, we will be issuing those students diplomas. In that case, it is really working.”
According to Cork, the program offers students the opportunity to take courses the county could not otherwise offer. “There’s a lot of different things in there we can’t offer them. Some of which allow students to dip their foot into some CTE things that we can’t offer. For example, you see some Fire Rescue, some Police Service things there. Also, some Education things set to lay the foundation there.”
Cork said he especially likes the career exploration aspect of the program. “One of the things I do like about it is that the state is really pushing kids to explore different careers.,” Cork said. “Most of the Career and Technical ones have an Ingenuity Course that covers different careers. Like there is a course called Careers in Transportation and Distribution. That’s the career cluster that…Auto Body and Auto Tech classes fall under, and the idea behind having those is, those kids who maybe think, maybe the only thing they know about mechanics is they can run a mom-and-pop shop. But the idea is that they can get more and know there’s different things, there’s career options.”
Cork said that the courses offered in the program are intense. “One thing about Ingenuity Courses done right, they are intense. They are not just you log on there and push some buttons.”
According to Cork, the school assembled a booklet of all the courses the program offers, as well as breaks them down into CTE program electives and is distributed to students. “We actually wrote a book last year and put it out for students. Basically, we took every Ingenuity Course that we had and we give it to our kids during scheduling. And it says to them, if you are in Chef’s program, here are the electives we recommend that your take while you are here and we categorize those Ingenuity Courses and give them out during the scheduling process.”
Cork said the program has allowed the school to offer many more courses than they were ever able to before. “There’s a bunch of them and quite frankly, we can’t offer without it. Its been a really neat tool…The Dual Credit Recovery, it pays for itself in the graduates. That has made a difference.”
The next meeting of the Tucker County Board of Education will be held Monday, August 7 at 4:30 p.m. at the Tucker County Board of Education Office located at 100 Education Lane, Parsons.