The St. Charles Parish School Board adopted new software to assist poorly performing students in graduating high school.
Rachel Allemand, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, said the new software will focus on about 5 percent of the high school student population that is at risk of not graduating.
"Our performance-based program is designed for our students who are at the high school, are over age and have few credits. The idea behind this is to accelerate their progress so that they can successfully graduate with a high school diploma," Allemand said. "Currently we are serving about 150 students and they receive their instruction through a combination of teacher directed instruction and computer driver instruction."
For the first time, the new software, called E2020, will allow students to complete school lessons from their home computers before coming into school to take assessment tests.
"Another big selling feature of this particular product is that students will be able to use this at home," said Colleen Charles, director of instructional technology. "With the teacherís permission they will be able to continue their school work at home and obviously do their assessments in class."
Charles said the ability for students to complete lesson plans from home is a big advancement over the previous software that could only be accessed through school computers.
"The other one we housed here, so it wasnít secure for us to open up the server and allow it to be accessed," she said. "This system is hosted somewhere else in the country so the kids can actually get to it anywhere in the world."
E2020 was compared to four other online-based learning programs selected by a group of educators.
"When we did this we brought in teachers, administrators, central office staff, such as the curriculum and instruction department and technology staff, to review the demos," Charles said. "After that we narrowed it down to two products and they came back in and did some more in-depth work."
The selection of the new programming will replace the A+ software the district has used for the past five years.
"As is our practice, about every five years we look at the software to see if it is still meeting our needs," Allemand said.
Superintendent Rodney Lafon said he welcomes the change.
"Let me say first that the performance-based software has made a big impact on our high schools and graduation rate. No doubt about it," he said. "Now we need to upgrade it and get ready for what is coming down the road with competency."