Case Study

Students in the Juvenile Justice System Make Academic Gains with Digital Curriculum

July 08, 2014
County Juvenile Justice System, FL


Many students enrolled in juvenile justice centers are disengaged and significantly behind in the credits required to graduate. Students range in age, grade level, and academic ability. Ensuring each student has the support required to stay on track toward graduation is an obstacle administrators face.


To address the needs of the diverse student population, administrators implemented a digital curriculum that:

  • Provides each student with access to rigorous instruction
  • Engages students with age-appropriate and relevant content
  • Creates a personalized learning plan for each student


Offering two rigorous digital curriculum solutions, Apex Learning addresses a wide range of instructional needs including:

  • Original Credit
  • Credit Recovery
  • Unit Recovery
  • Targeted Instruction


Since the 2009-2010 school year, more than 600 students completed over 700 courses for credit toward graduation.


Keeping Students in the Juvenile Justice System on Track Toward Graduation

Ensuring students involved in the juvenile justice system make academic gains and have the knowledge and skills they need to be successful as they transition back to their communities is a challenge many educators working with students in the system face. Each student has a unique set of circumstances and specific educational needs. Some students may live at home, while others are placed in a residential program. The students can range in age, grade level, and academic ability. Likewise, the time students spend at a juvenile justice center varies. These factors prove to be obstacles in getting students on track, as many of the students come to the centers disengaged and significantly behind in earning the credits they need to graduate.

Whether students are in a
juvenile justice center for a
week, a month, or a year, the goal remains the same, to ensure students have the support they require to earn a high school diploma. The education students receive is critical to their success when they are reintroduced to their school and community.

Cheryl Vedoe

CEO, Apex Learning


Expectation Graduation - How One Juvenile Justice Center Ensures Success for Every Student

During the 2009-2010 school year, the center's administration selected Apex Learning Comprehensive Courses as the core curriculum. Based on the success teachers and students experienced with Comprehensive Courses, the use of Apex Learning digital curriculum expanded in the fall of 2013 to include Tutorials, which provide targeted instruction for intervention and remediation.

Classrooms at the center are often made up of students in a variety of courses. In one classroom, five students may be in algebra I, three in geometry, and two in algebra II. Each student is required to meet the particular course's standards at his or her own level of academic readiness. By using two unique and complementary solutions - Comprehensive Courses and Tutorials - teachers are able to address each student's specific learning needs. Comprehensive Courses provide the opportunity for students to earn credit, whereas Tutorials offer short-term students an effective solution for keeping up with their course work.

Delivered online, Apex Learning Comprehensive Courses and Tutorials make rigorous content accessible and engaging through the use of active learning strategies and opt-in scaffolding presented at students' differing levels of academic readiness. Students self-pace through the instruction and access learning supports when needed. The digital instruction offers students a low-risk, high-reward learning environment. Students sitting next to each other cannot tell by looking at the screen how they compare academically to their peers. In addition, access to real-time student data enables teachers to efficiently monitor student progress and performance, and lets them know when to intervene and assist - ensuring students have the one-to-one support they need.


Successful Student Outcomes

Since the 2009-2010 school year, the center has served more than 600 at-risk students. These students, many of whom had dropped out of school, completed over 700 courses for credit toward graduation. With the help of engaging digital curriculum and the dedicated administration, students are focused on their progress; their self-esteem is increasing, and they are motivated to accomplish more.