School spearheads new curriculum for students who struggle in regular education

Connecting with the poorest and most disengaged dropouts.

Falling behind at school often means getting lost in the education system for good.

However, one school is leading the way by helping students who struggle to continue with their education and encourage them to reach their full potential.

The Learning Works Charter School prides itself on offering an alternative approach to education by gifting students a “fresh start”. 

In particular, they connect with the poorest, most disengaged dropouts as they believe all young people deserve a high school diploma.

The only catch? You will need to reside near Los Angeles to attend.

Speaking exclusively to Uspire, school representative Kurt Rahn said that their mission is to help at-risk and in-crisis youth to earn a high school diploma.

Kurt said: “Most of our students have non-school issues that have conspired to hinder academic progress, like getting pregnant, being homeless, or entering the legal system.

“We try to reduce the impact of those ‘distractions’ by providing wraparound services trying to alleviate the issues, which engage them in a challenging academic curriculum.”

Based in California, the school functions differently to others in the area as an independently funded charter school providing independent study curriculum.

Simply, this means that they don’t have many traditional classes.

Kurt explained: “Our students are paired up with a single teacher when they first register, and are assigned modules to complete their school work.

“They can either complete their work on their own time, or they can come to the school for individual help, if they need it.

“During COVID-19 times, this has meant that we’ve assigned all our students their own Chromebook and they have regular online meetings with their teachers via Zoom.”

The other initiative that separates Learning Works from other schools is their fantastic mentoring scheme, quirkily named Chasers.

Chasers are young adults from a similar background as the students, with many of them Learning Works graduates, who ‘chase’ students on those days when they need a little motivation and are feeling less than enthusiastic about going in.

The school has seen great success since establishing itself in 2008, with almost 100 students graduating who otherwise would not have earned a diploma.

Kurt continued: “Our efforts have dramatically reduced the dropout rate in Pasadena Unified School District.

“A good number of students are the first in their families to graduate from high school.

“We want to make our students feel empowered, and there’s no better sense of satisfaction than seeing a student you’ve known and worked with since middle school walk down the aisle to claim their diploma. Words don’t do it justice.”

He concluded: “As long as there are students who have been failed by the ‘regular’ school system and want to earn their diploma, we’ll be here to help them do so.”

If only all schools operated like this, there might be less dropouts in the first place.

For more info, click here: Learning Worker Charter School.


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