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Hall plans state pilot for math, English courses in January
Will Schofield
Hall County Superintendent Will Schofield

Hall County will start a pilot program in math and English in January to help high school students who likely will graduate from high school but have little to no chance to pass entrance tests for college or technical schools.

The state Board of Education on Thursday gave its first approval to the idea. The board’s rules require a waiting period of 30 days before final approval. A vote is expected at the December board meeting.

The program will target juniors in high school who might need help to pass the Accuplacer test required to get into technical colleges.

If the pilot projects were successful, the state board could approve the courses for use in all Georgia high schools by the 2017-18 year.

Will Schofield, superintendent for Hall County, explained the idea to the board at an Oct. 25 retreat.

“We’re going to help some students get themselves ready for the postsecondary world,” Schofield said Thursday.

The pilot programs are expected to be one class each for math and English at Johnson and East Hall high schools.

Scofield said the district will look at student records and test scores to see what students might benefit from the courses. He said students at Lanier Charter Career Academy also could be considered.

He told the state board Oct. 25 that students who show significant deficits in English or math should take the postsecondary courses.

He told the board about half of Georgia’s graduates each year — about 70,000 — could not pass entrance exams for college or technical schools.

The proposed postsecondary math and English courses would seek to help those students get to the level where they can pass the exams by the time they graduate from high school.

Schofield told the board that jobs in the near future all will require some postsecondary training.

Without some help, he told the board, half the state’s graduates “have postsecondary options, and we can make that better.”

If the students pass the courses, they would get high school credit for them, he said.

Schofield said the district has the standards for the courses. That work was done for the board retreat. The standards are taken from existing ones for Georgia, he explained.

The district also has a software package, My Foundations, that will “create an individual path of study” for math and English based on a student’s results from the Accuplacer diagnostic test.

In addition, Hall County is talking with Lanier Technical College about working together on the course content and how it is taught.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Schofield said about getting ready for a course in two months, but he also said, “We’re going to move full speed ahead.”