BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — When Lighthouse Academy opened its doors to at-risk students in 2001, administrators hoped that providing students with more personal attention would increase academic performance. However, in the first year, educators noticed few changes in student achievement. Average daily attendance held steady at about 64 percent and only six students graduated.
But, all of that changed.
In January 2002, Lighthouse Academy began using EdOptions™’ Web-based Novel™ program, a library of 39 core and elective courses that can be taken anytime, from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Within three years, 167 students completed the course requirements they needed to catch up with their classmates or earn their diplomas. Attendance exceeded expectations, jumping 30 percent in the first year and rising to 95 percent by the end of 2004-05.
Academy principal Mark Williams credits Novel for the dramatic improvement.
Williams said that previous to using Novel, the school was actually little different from the traditional classroom environment students had in their previous schools.
“The only thing that had changed was a location,” said Williams.
“Students started hoping where they had lost all hope. They started believing where they had lost all belief that people cared.”
EdOptions’ Web-based program, however, provided students with more flexibility while encouraging and maintaining the student-teacher relationship in the classroom.
“Students started hoping where they had lost all hope. They started believing where they had lost all belief that people cared,” Williams said. “When you put those two together, they started achieving.”
Novel’s courses also gave teachers more time. Instructors who once spent hours grading papers, preparing lessons, and doing paperwork now had more time to focus on students’ individual needs and build stronger student-teacher relationships.
And those relationships have made a difference.
Of the nearly 200 students who graduated from the academy, many have gone on to college or military service, and almost all are making positive impacts in the community.
In 2006, the Congressional Black Caucus Education Braintrust, one of the premier non-profit, policy-oriented educational and research institutes, recognized Lighthouse Academy with a Congressional award for helping increase graduation and attendance rates in Warren County.
Lighthouse Academy’s achievements with Novel have prompted hundreds of school administrators and teachers across the nation to visit the school and learn about this unique program. Thanks to Novel’s Web-based courses and the dedication of educators like Williams, the school’s student success rate continues to reach new heights.