An alternative school in the Twin Falls School District has launched a unique after-school program designed to improve graduation rates.
Magic Valley High School’s “PM School” helps struggling students get back on track by offering classes in the late afternoon, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday-Thursday.
Teen parents or those students who violate attendance or academic requirements or those who have daytime jobs can enroll in the PM School to recover credits. About 13 students are in the month-old program. MVHS Principal Roger Keller envisions the program will become more popular as it “helps students earn their way back to day school,” he said.
“We try to keep them engaged,” said Kim Smith, one of three teachers who coordinate the program. “We want to keep students from becoming another dropout statistic. There are some students who have to stay home during the day to take care of their kids, but who have more freedom to take classes after traditional school hours. This allows them to continue their education in a way that fits their lifestyle. We’re trying to close as many of those dropout holes as we can.”
Smith modeled PM School after a similar program at Mt. Harrison Junior/Senior High School in Heyburn.
Magic Valley’s after-school program offers computer class instruction in a variety of required subjects, including geography, math and physical science. The 16-hour a week program is divided into two classes with each student spending two hours a day on each class until completed. Students must complete two classes —earning two credits – during PM School before they are admitted back into day school.
“We’re pretty strict about attendance here,” said Keller.
The program accepts new students every Monday and has about eight openings.
“We’re still in the initial stages,” Keller said. “We’re running all year long.”
Magic Valley High School serves about 165 students from traditional high schools Canyon Ridge and Twin Falls.