POINT PLEASANT — The Options Pathway Program at the Mason County Career Center (MCCC) will have its first two graduates this year.
Jean Ayers and Kara Klomp, both of Point Pleasant, will be the first two graduates of this unique program. Jeff Vogt, Options Pathway Teacher, said this program, which is in it’s first year, is unlike most GED option programs, since this program provides current high school students who have fallen behind an opportunity to catch up with their class, and graduate on time. Vogt stated there are many reasons why a student might fall behind, which are often out of their control, and because of this program, it allows them to graduate and have an opportunity to continue on to college or the workplace.
“I think it’s a really good program,” Ayers said.
“It allows me to graduate with my class,” Klomp added.
Just like any other academic program, the students have to apply. Students considered for the program are those who are at least one year behind, are at the risk of dropping out, or at an inappropriate age for the grade level. The student takes the TABE test and are recommended to score an 8th grade level in reading and a 7th grade level in math. The Options team then meets to discuss the placement of the student, and if selected, they meet with the student and their parents. Academic, attendance, and behavioral expectations are all discussed with the student, and they are still required to take the WESTEST and other state tests.
There are several different options a student can pursue in this program. The first option is for a student who wishes to be a Career Tech Completer. In this pathway, the student spends half of the school day in a Career and Technical Program at the MCCC, and then the other half with the options pathway teacher, who will prepare the student to take the five parts of the GED. If the student receives a score of 450 or higher on each section of the GED, those scores will take the place of the traditional high school curriculum. Students who choose this pathway will graduate with their class, and receive their high school diploma and a GED.
The second option a student can take in this program is for a high school senior who is involved with a Career and Technical program or a tradition academic program, and is likely not to graduate because they have been struggling with one or two subject areas. These students will spend half of their school day with the Options Pathway Teacher, who will help them pass the section of the GED corresponding with the subjects they are struggling in. By passing these GED sections, the student will receive their high school diploma along with the rest of their class.
A third option is designed for a student who is dropping out of school. The student is encouraged to take the GED Official Practice Test, and if the student is capable of passing, they are encouraged to take GED test prior to leaving the public school system. Students who take this option will be entered into the West Virginia Education Information System as a dropout, but then will be changed to “Attained a GED Diploma” if the student passes all the subject areas. The student will not receive a high school diploma and will not be counted in the graduation rate.
It was reported that the Options Pathway program is not for students who are looking to take the easy way out, since preparing for the GED can be just as demanding as regular course work. By working with the Options Pathway Teacher, the student is able to achieve a personalized academic program that would be difficult to get in a traditional classroom. It is also not a program for students with a history of truancy. Daily attendance is essential to have a consistent and serious effort to achieve a high school diploma. A history of poor attendance doesn’t eliminate a student’s eligibility to enter the program, but a continuance of poor attendance will result in the student being dropped from the program. The students are also expected to have respectful and responsible behavior and often work in small groups or independently.
For more information on this program or the Mason County Career Center, call 304-675-3039.