FWCS focuses on making students college ready

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne Community Schools leaders outlined district initiatives at a board meeting Monday evening which focus on preparing students for college and future careers. Leaders said the changes have directly impacted FWCS’s graduation rate which has increased to over 90 percent.

About five years ago, FWCS got a grant to start reinventing the high schools. The reinvention focused on three components: personalization, precision, and professional learning. Administrators started by changing the student class schedule from a 4×4 schedule to a seven period day. The restructuring gave students more control over their individual coursework. In addition, leaders rearranged the guidance counseling program and added a counselor to each high school.

New programs were set in place to allow students to graduate early in three years. High schools also added dual credit and AP courses to make for a more rigorous experience. A greater emphasis is being placed on attendance and attendance monitoring, and summer classes will be made more accessible for students who need to earn credits.

Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, schools will add International Baccalaureate programs for 9th and 10th graders as well as early college courses in hopes of getting students invested in their education at an earlier age.  If students do receive reduced or free textbooks, then the early college courses would be free of charge. There will also be applications for PE waivers next year to allow students more time to take more difficult classes or participate in internships. For example, students can be exempt from the 10th grade PE requirement if they play a sport or engage in another extra-curricular activity. Leaders said the changes are about doing what’s best for the students.

“Not what we want them to do, but what they choose to do so far as their career and their future and helping them get there,” Debra Faye Williams-Robbins, the FWCS Assistant Superintendent for high schools said.

In addition to changes for the students, teachers also go through training which is built-in to the end of every school day.

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