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A credit recovery program helps Native American students graduate

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The Native American population attending Albuquerque Public Schools is extremely diverse. The students represent 114 different tribes and speak many different languages. “In just the tribes that are here in New Mexico, there are seven different Native American language groups,” explained Jay Leonard, instructional manager, Indian Education Department (IED).

In addition, the group has a high mobility rate. “What happens, for example, is that a kid comes in to Albuquerque Public Schools from To’Hajiilee, a Navajo Nation community,” Leonard said. “He is here for part of a semester, and then he moves back home. And then he’ll come back in January for the second semester. And we have a lot of that going on throughout the year.”

Limited English language skills and high mobility rates are two factors that contribute to the low Native American graduation rate in Albuquerque, which was 49 percent in 2012. “Of all the demographic groups here, the Native Americans have the lowest graduation rates,” noted Leonard.

IED wanted to implement a credit recovery program which would help Native American students graduate. Using GradPoint®, a set of online courses and services now part of the Pearson Connexus™ suite of offerings, it launched a blended learning, afterschool program in March 2013.

The program ran from 3:30–5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the computer lab of the Career Enrichment Center, a centralized location that hosts several afterschool programs and provides busing to and from district high schools. Three content-area teachers—English, math, and social studies—and Leonard staffed each session to help students.

The credit recovery program has grown since the initial session in the spring of 2013, which included four students. IED now holds classes in two locations as well as a summer school session.

The program’s success rate—the percentage of participating students who earn credits in the program—increased from 75 percent in 2013 to 90 percent in 2015. Since the credit recovery program started, 297 students have earned credits.

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