Endeavor Academy is a program for students with ongoing documented behavior problems from grade 6 through high school seniors. It has been in operation since 1976, with a one year hiatus in 1992. Some students come to the program after committing student code of conduct infractions as a second chance before expulsion. Others have committed felonies in the community and are referred to the program by committee. In order to earn their way back to their home school, students must achieve 90 percent attendance, a 2.0 grade point average or better for the semester and a semester average of 3.75 on the student behavior card.
151 students were served at Endeavor for the 2017-2018 school year. Many of those are “on felonies” said principal, Steve Crognale, who earned the Hernando School District Principal of the Year designation for 2018. He has served as principal for both Endeavor and Discovery Academies during the 2016-2017 school year as well.
Discovery Academy provides a program for overage middle school students who have not earned their 12 credits for promotion to 9th grade. The program started three years ago. Many are able to take freshman courses and finish up what they need of their middle school credits. Discovery High School was added for the 2017-2018 school year. All eleven seniors at Discovery High School have earned their required credits and GPA. Nine were able to go back to their home schools to graduate in May, while two were awaiting SAT scores at the end of June.
The curriculum used for both programs is called “Edgenuity,” a credit recovery course. It’s the third year that the district has used Edgenuity in order to “recover core academic courses or lost credits due to failures and increase on-time promotion and increase graduation rates,” according to a district Q and A on the program. This past year is the first year that Discovery and Endeavor used the computer based curriculum.
Crognale remarked about Edgenuity, “For my students who are behind academically, they’re ready to give up. Because they’re 5 or 6 credits behind and they don’t see the light. With middle school kids they kind of like it (Edgenuity) because they’re with kids their own age who are in the same boat and they pull together… We haven’t had any returned to us that have earned their way out.”
Edgenuity is implemented at other middle and high schools in the district and is available to students “in grades 6-12 that have failed a core class (English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and/or Social Studies). Priority placement is given to those students in grades 8 and 12 to achieve on-time promotion and graduation.” District-wide, 686 students completed 1428 courses, an average of 2.08 per student. This is a big improvement over the 2015-2016 school year in which 456 students completed 363 courses- average of .80 courses per student. The board voted to approve costs for program licensing for the upcoming school year: $97,250.00 during the regular board meeting on June 26, 2018.
Board member Susan Duval asked Cognale about projected enrollment for Endeavor and Discovery next year. He stated that Endeavor has 71, Discovery High has 10 and Discovery Middle has 21. While there aren’t many students enrolled currently, Cognale does anticipate to be at capacity when the school year starts. He said they are in limbo right now in terms of enrollment with students trying to catch up during the summer so they can move on to high school.