The Storm Lake/Iowa Central Charter School has been a success story for the Storm Lake District. The 2005-2006 school year has help enrolled students earn 353 credits to jumpstart their college careers even as they work toward high school degrees .
Mike Hanna and Dan Anderson, Co-administrators of the charter school are proud of the success.
"There are plenty of stories from students who enrolled and will receive their A.A. degree," Anderson said.
The number of college credits earned by high school students has increased dramatically, specifically among SES low income and minority students, Hanna said during a presentation a Hy-Noon Kiwanis this week.
Other observations Hanna presented are the percent of students earning college credit has more than doubled since the start of the charter School. The numbers of student enrolled in the charter exceed the projected number. Parents and students are very vocal with their level of support for the charter and the opportunities provided.
According to Hanna, the Charter School has five main goals:
1. Increase the number of first generation, low income, English Language learners and students of color attaining post secondary programs.
2. Provide a more rigorous and relevant college/career preparation curriculum.
3. Raise Individual ITED scores in the areas of reading, mathematics, and science that will impact overall class performance.
4. Increase the number of dual credit offerings and opportunities for all students, especially monitor increased participation and performance of subgroups.
5. Individual learning plans for all students.
The Charter school is open to both juniors and seniors who are interested working on college course work, which may require a five or six year experience. The charter school has an 86 percent of enrollment of students considered ethnic minority, who might otherwise not feel college is possible.
"We have some students that said they would not have gone to college or done the work without the program," Hanna said. "We are hitting our target areas and our goals and hope to continue the success."
The Charter school is undergoing its annual evaluation and is collecting data and will include parent surveys, student interviews, teacher interviews and interviews with board members.
Hanna also addressed some issues about whether students were being pushed too hard.
"In the beginning we were pushing some kids harder but the majority of the grades have As and Bs and not so many Fs and Ds for 2005-2006," Hanna said.
As part of the programs some students will spend times at different locations. A bus will leave at about 6:30 A.M. every day to transport students over to the Fort Dodge ICCC campus where students will spend the day for classes.
"Students receive an exposure of campus life and can help with the transitions from high school to college work," Anderson said.
"Some students may not be able to get the courses here or at BVU so we send them to Fort Dodge to get the necessary classes."
Some students are involved in training programs to learn different trades as well.
"I tell some students that they might be hired before their training is completed and it happens there are a few students who work during the day and at night they are in the classes completing their work," Anderson said.
Students all over the county have access to the program but are required to open enroll at Storm Lake High School to apply to participate. Hanna also added that students will not receive diplomas from their town high school but from Storm Lake.