New program at DuVal helps keep students from failing -- Gazette.Net



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Last year, Tolu Adeboyeku, 16, a junior at DuVal High School in Landover, was in danger of failing biology and losing his spot on the school’s football team, but he was able to pass thanks to a class credit recovery program at his school.

“Everyone has those bumps in the road,” Adeboyeku said. “But once you walk into that classroom, you feel like you’ve been given a second chance.”

Under the leadership of Principal Alice Swift, who took over as DuVal’s principal in 2012, the school began offering credit recovery year-round and during the summer, said Kawsar Mahmud, one of the two coordinators for the program, which also has five teachers.

“It’s easy to say, ‘You should be getting this subject matter the first time, and if you’re not, you should go somewhere else,’ but the reality is, that’s not always possible,” Mahmud said. “That’s where this program comes in, to give students the extra assistance they need.”

The program is offered to students identified as being in danger of failing by their teachers and staff. Students and parents must sign a contract, which requires the student to attend after-school tutorials on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Teachers provide supplemental instruction to students, who complete extra credit assignments and makeup work to help raise themselves to a passing grade in the subject.

Attendance is strictly monitored, Mahmud said, and teachers and staff consult with parents weekly on the progress being made.

“At the end, they’re assessed, and if they pass, they earn the credit,” Swift said.

A version of the program also runs during the summer as an alternative to summer school, allowing students to make up a failed class without the costs or transportation to summer school, Mahmud said.

“The idea there was to make it amenable to the parents, so they would not have to spend money on things we could do in-school,” Swift said.

The program is free for identified students, and the school provides afterschool and summer bus transportation.

Approximately 250 students have been through the school’s credit recovery program, Mahmud said, who added he is working on the second phase of DuVal’s credit recovery program, which will involve incorporating online tutorials into the program.

The afterschool work gives students a sense of ownership in their education as well, Mahmud said.

Jamaal Woodland, 17, a senior at DuVal, was in danger of failing English and history last year when he enrolled in the school’s credit recovery program. Woodland said the program has made a huge difference in his educational outlook.

“My scholastic confidence has increased tremendously because of the program,” said Woodland, who also plays on the football team. “I’ve gained five Division I scholarships, and credit recovery is the main reason.”

janfenson-comeau@gazette.net