A Student's Perspective: Graduating against the Odds

April 05, 2016
Graduation Cap

Although we have a tendency to think about virtual learning as a way to personalize learning for students in school, it can be a lifesaver for those students whose lives are turned upside down, outside of school. "Honey" (not her real name) was just such a student.

Honey was caught in the throes of addiction and unable to go to school or to even live at home. However, she had had consistently good grades for the years she attended high school, before the addictions, and no one wanted to see her have to resort to a GED when she deserved the opportunity to earn a full high school diploma.

Honey's school contact had several long conversations with Honey's physician and hospital teacher. As a result of those conversations, they created a plan to keep Honey moving forward with her education by giving her access to Apex Learning curriculum in a virtual setting. An Apex Learning program coordinator trained Honey's teacher over the phone so that the teacher would be able to show Honey how to access the Apex Learning curriculum the next day at the hospital.

Honey started using Apex Learning curriculum daily to continue her education. She began corresponding with Apex Learning program coordinator by email at first, then by phone when Honey would hit a low point and be unwilling or unable to work. Eventually, the coordinator became partners with Honey's hospital teacher in pushing Honey toward finishing the courses she still needed to graduate from high school. Honey's hospital teacher monitored her seat time hours, and graded her study sheets and written English assignments. The Apex Learning program coordinator monitored her online work.

Unfortunately, when Honey turned 18, she was summarily discharged from the juvenile facility. Knowing that the adult facility would be full of bad influences, her doctor wanted her to be moved home instead, and her mother became the teaching partner, replacing the hospital teacher. Once Honey was well enough to come to the school for a few hours a day, she joined the Apex Learning program coordinator in the classroom. She was also able to make up PE credits and started to see that she could graduate after all. Honey began to talk about what she might like to do in the future including which college might help to start her on her path.

As a result of the learning opportunities afforded by Apex Learning digital curriculum in virtual setting, Honey, who might never have finished high school--who might have given up on even a GED--was set to graduate on time in June. After graduation, started community college in the fall. By December, she and her mother were bursting to share the good news that she'd completed her first semester of coursework successfully. Honey's mother sent a letter to the Apex Learning coordinator saying...

"Honey is doing great! She is volunteering at [a hospital in the NYC area]. She is also still attending community college. She is taking a course this semester to become a CCMA-Certified Clinical Medical Assistant. Next year, she will start...taking courses toward her actual major. She has showed great interest in the healthcare field."

Honey and her mother also sent photos of her new certificates endorsing her as an EKG technician and a Certified First Aid / CPR provider. Honey can now work part time to help support herself as she goes to college.

Without a real path toward a future, Honey had already given up on herself by the time she ended up in the hospital. Apex Learning curriculum allowed her to make use of her recovery time at first in the hospital and later at home to slowly reintegrate herself into a life with her peers, without being as susceptible to the negative influences that had destroyed her happiness and nearly destroyed her life. In baby steps, quiz by quiz and study sheet by study sheet, Honey saw that she was still capable and intelligent and worthy of a future of her own making - a future she is making right this very minute.

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