Rhode Island

Charter and District Leaders Tackling the Issue of Students Who Are Over-Age and Under-Credited, Together

“Overage and under-credited” is a term used to describe older students, typically 16- to 20-year-old young adults who have fallen behind their initial high school graduation cohort. For many such students, the path to a high school diploma can be a complicated one. It’s a path that requires intensive supports and creative thinking.” (Projo, 8/15/17)

Victor Cappellan and Toby Shepherd are both education leaders who are dedicated to tackling this very problem. Capellan, Central Falls Superintendent and Shepherd, Executive Director of Nowell Leadership Academy, are walking the walk when it comes to supporting and empowering students who are over-age and under-credited, students for whom the K-12 journey has been been one of interruptions including but not limited to family obligations, pregnancy, and trauma.

In the district…

Victor Capellan

From the Providence Journal…

In Central Falls, overage and under-credited students can earn high school credit at night through the district’s “PM School,” and on the weekends through multiple Saturday school offerings. The Central Falls School Department has even created the new Multiple Pathways support role, funded through the AmeriCorps VISTA program, through which recent graduates provide individualized tutoring and counseling to keep recently re-enrolled students on the path back to graduation.

And in the charter…

Toby Shepherd and student

High expectations, strong academic interventions and robust wraparound supports also define the program at the Sheila C. “Skip” Nowell Leadership Academy, a public charter high school serving 160 students from across Rhode Island. Founded in 2013, the Nowell Leadership Academy is one of America’s few charter high schools specifically designed to serve pregnant and parenting teenagers.

No matter the governance model of the school, students bring needs to school that can’t be ignored and both of these educational leaders are doing their part in ensuring that students who got “off track” for whatever reason get back on track and earn their high school diploma.

Thank you to these school leaders working together on behalf of the students who need it most.

All quotes taken from Providence Journal piece, “My Turn: Victor Capellan and Toby Shepherd: Helping students through graduation”.

To read the full piece, click here. 


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