Students get ‘on pointe’ in accelerated learning

Older, lagging students given chance to graduate on time



ROSWELL, Ga. – When a student moves in from out-of-state or out-of-country, or has family problems causing them to fall behind in their classwork, what are they to do? The answer may soon be available for all Fulton schools if the teachers at Elkins Pointe Middle School have anything to say about it.

Called “On Pointe,” the program is accelerated learning, where students get a year’s worth of classes in 18 weeks – one semester. The goal is to get them back “on point” by the time they are sophomores in high school.

“If they had continued on their normal path, they would have turned 16 in their freshman year of high school,” said Melinda Springman, principal of Elkins Pointe. “With this program, they should be able to graduate high school in three years.”

The middle school students will continue the program into high school, where their first year will be tailored to get them back up to speed and graduate by the time they are 18.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for these kids to get back on point for high school,” Springman said.

Thirty students are in the county’s pilot program at Elkins Pointe, with many getting straight A’s in their first semester.

The Historic Roswell Kiwanis Club adopted the students in the program to give them a graduation ceremony Jan. 17 after they finished their first “year” in the program.

“I saw the classes, and I was astounded,” said Ron Jackson, with the Historic Roswell Kiwanis Club. “This is quite an accomplishment. We’re pleased to have adopted the class.”

For the students, many of them have excelled in the program, despite difficulties of the workload.

“This teaches us that I can do anything I set my mind to,” said Octavius Johnson, one of the students. “In one semester, I did exactly that.”

The results have not been lost on administrators.

“These students are setting an example for the rest of the schools in the system,” said Scott Muri, deputy superintendent of learning for Fulton Schools. “This is a big deal.”

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