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David Domenici, Executive Director - CEEAS

We opened up and held our first day of classes at the Travis Hill School on August 22, 2016.  After one semester, we have some terrific, early stage, academic achievement data to share.

In Louisiana, there are a handful of high school courses that have standardized, state mandated End of Course (EOC) exams. Passing the EOC is required to earn credit for the course, and earning credit in these courses is mandatory for students to earn their high school diploma.

In Louisiana, schools can offer the EOCs in December, in May and then again in June (considered a make-up opportunity for students who come close, but do not pass in May).

In previous years, the school at the Youth Study Center did not offer any students the chance to take EOC exams in December.  

When we took over and established the Travis Hill School, we decided early on that if we had students who showed enough promise that passing one or more EOC in December seemed viable, we would offer them a chance to test—and would provide extended support and tutoring to them as that date approached.

So, in mid-December, we administered the EOCs to students in Algebra, Geometry, English 2 and English 3. The results:

  • 20 students took the Algebra EOC and 10 passed

  • 17 students took English 2 EOC and 12 passed

  • 1 student took English 3 EOC test and he passed

  • 3 students took the Geometry EOC test and all 3 passed

At the Travis Hill School we do not focus on test prep—we build the curriculum based on short, thematic units (change, identity, rights, justice…) that emphasize relevance and engagement.  That said, we believe strongly that our students need to learn core academic skills and need to be able to demonstrate those skills in situations that matter in their lives.  And in Louisiana, passing your EOC exams matters—because you can’t otherwise graduate!

On average, there are 40 students detained at the Youth Study Center.  In December of 2015 none of them were given the chance to take an EOC exam. In December 2016, 60% of the student body took one or more EOC exams and nearly 50% of them earned one or more credit(s).  These students are now moving forward, taking additional credit-bearing courses.

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