Up to 100 students expected to attend community school
On the heels of what district officials have hailed as a successful inaugural year, the Pickerington Community School is expected to serve up to 100 students in 2012-13.
In August 2011, the Pickerington Community School was established as part of the Pickerington Local School District.
At the time, district officials billed the new school, which is sponsored and overseen by the district, as a venue to help high school students who've fallen behind academically get back on track toward graduation.
While the school allows the district to maximize its state funding -- each time a student leaves, the district loses that portion of per-pupil funding from the state -- district officials said it serves chronically truant students or those with behavioral issues.
It's also designed to retain students living in the district who attend or previously attended other community schools, as well as those who are home-schooled.
According to school officials it accomplishes those objectives by providing specialized education to students who might fall behind or drop out of more traditional classroom settings.
Last month, Bob Blackburn, community school superintendent and Pickerington Local School District special education director, said the community school served 103 students in 2011-12, and of those, 44 graduated.
"All 44 of these students came to us as credit deficient," Blackburn said.
"We ended with 43 students last year and we have 47 enrolled (for 2012-13)," he said.
"We're projecting up to 100 students this year."
Blackburn said the school this year again will focus on developing partnerships with area businesses, contractors, government agencies, cultural and civic organizations and local post-secondary institutions to provide employment and post-high school education opportunities to students.
He said the school is specialized, in that each student completes an individual career and graduation plan.
The community school is designed to serve students primarily aged 16 to 21 and operates out of Pickerington High School North.
It follows the same calendar as the rest of the Pickerington school district with community school students placed in one of two sessions, which begin at 7 a.m. and 11 a.m.
The school has been funded by start-up funds from the district, which are being reimbursed through federal grants.