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Cabot School District, AR - Academic Center of Excellence

Michele Evans - Principal: [00:00:04] I'm the principal at the Academic Center of Excellence. We are a conversion charter school for the Cabot School District. We serve grades seven through twelve. Probably our biggest attribute is the relationship between the advisors and the students. We are small school. It's probably around a 15-to-one ratio. The students come in and they choose what subject they want to work on, so they get one-on-one and work with those teachers.

Breanne Selah - English Advisor: [00:00:26] ACE is unique for a lot of different ways, mostly because of the students that we have here. There's a different story for every kid that's out there and we try and serve them and where they are when they come to us.

Kathy Peters - Math Advisor: [00:00:35] I describe ACE as the perfect combination between home school and public school because the students have full support of certified teachers, but they do most of the work at home.

Beverly Williams - Business Advisor: [00:00:45] I think the Apex program prepares students as far as being self-paced, keeping up with a calendar, time frame, due dates. It makes them more responsible for their schoolwork and their education.

Michele Evans - Principal: [00:00:57] We're an online school. It's an application process for them to come here. The kids are assigned nine hours a week to come to school, which is normally in a three hour time slot three days a week. The rest of the time they can work from home and Apex allows them that luxury because it's available twenty four hours a day.

Kathy Peters - Math Advisor: [00:01:13] Our students are here for any number of reasons, from illnesses to pregnancies to anxiety. And so with them not having to be in a classroom and raise their hand in front of twenty five of their peers and draw attention to themselves, it makes all the difference.

Breanne Selah - English Advisor: [00:01:29] I see a lot of benefits of the digital curriculum. A lot of the different learning modalities are met. You have some of the auditory stuff where the kids can have the curriculum read to them and follow along. It really helps with kids that are struggling with reading or comprehension. The little videos and the interactive things really help to reinforce the concepts that they're learning in the lessons.

Beverly Williams - Business Advisor: [00:01:51] There are a lot of real life lessons, especially in the college and career readiness classes. It teaches them about all the different, the standardized tests they need, how to apply for federal aid to go to college. Even if they don't want to go to college, it prepares them for things they could also take as course during military or doing any type of apprenticeships or on-the-job training.

Hailey - 12th Grade Student: [00:02:11] What I like best about them probably that I can set my own pace. You can actually print out study guides for each of the things, it'll walk you through it. It helps a lot.

Noah - 10th Grade Student: [00:02:20] ACE has helped me catch up a lot. It's helping me stay ahead. It's helping me keep my head in the game. Not a lot of talking. There's not a lot of people. It's easy to focus. I would describe it as a very good program.

Abigail - 12th Grade Student: [00:02:32] For me to be able to come to school and sit down and do my own work and everybody else around me be very quiet, and I'm not so worried about what everybody else has done. I feel like I've learned so much more and I've taken in so much more, especially because I'm learning it the way that best benefits myself.

Shea - 9th Grade Student: [00:02:48] Some teachers in regular school, they don't give you all the information that Apex does. The videos do help. I can get a lot more information if somebody is telling me it than then just reading it.

Chris - 12th Grade Student: [00:02:58] I'm the one going through the lesson. In a classroom it would be more like fragmented or like they leave things out and there are holes and the lesson, but here everything's in one place. I don't have to work outside of the classroom if I don't have to. That gives me opportunities to still graduate and still make money and still leave for military when it comes. You're doing the work,  you're teaching yourself. And there's nothing that can go wrong. You got all that's there for you. There shouldn't be a reason you can't make it.

Beverly Williams - Business Advisor: [00:03:20] I think this program will continue to grow. I think that we can offer more electives now through Apex that gives them more variety of what they would want to do as far as graduating and the areas they would like to go into, so I can see it continuing to grow.

Michele Evans - Principal: [00:03:36] We were one of the first conversion charter schools in the state and it's becoming more and more popular. Almost every student in the state takes some kind of digital curriculum now, so it's just the wave of the future. Kids come back, as they go to college and they are very comfortable with the online classes that they now take in college.

Breanne Selah - English Advisor: [00:03:51] I just think that it's going to continue to serve a lot of different kids and do a lot of good for a lot of people. The way that higher education is moved in the digital era, technology's role in education has changed a lot in the last decade or so. And I think that this is just keeping up with this and kind of setting the forefront of that in the secondary education rather than in college. So I think that it's not just the academics that we're helping them with, it's those life skills that they're going to need to be successful later on in life.