Kennewick's Fourth High School to Serve Entire Tri-Cities Area - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Kennewick's Fourth High School to Serve Entire Tri-Cities Area

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Kennewick -- The school drop-out rate, estimated to be close to 25 percent nationally, has caused local educators so much concern that the Kennewick School District is now offering a new option for students. 

Phoenix High School, the fourth high school to be located in Kennewick, was pilot tested last year.  Educators believe the curriculum and teaching methods will help students who are not able to participate actively in school, or who have lost interest in learning.

There are two components to Phoenix High School.  One program offers self-directed, project based learning.  Students who enroll spend their day in a classroom, but instead of learning through the traditional approach of textbook and tests, they will work on specialized projects designed to best suit their learning style.  

Students in this self-directed program will work closely with teachers to design their own lessons based upon their individual learning stye.  Tracy Money, the Director of Phoenix High School says the goal is to build a learning community where learning is honored.  Rather than focus on teaching, Phoenix High School will focus on meeting the learning needs of students. 

The other Phoenex option is a home-based internet program.  But educators said it is not just a virtual high school.  One way it differs is that advisors work closely with students; and they stay in contact with students a minimum of once a week, either in person, by phone or e-mail.

The internet program is expected to reduce the drop-out rate by adapting to student needs.  Tracy Money, the Director of Phoenix High School says that athletes who have grueling schedules, students with health problems, and kids with complicated home lives will all benefit.

Money is most concerned about kids who drift away from education because they have other distractions that cause them to become disenfranchised from the learning process.  "You get behind in credits and just kind of fade away. We're getting some stop gaps in place now."

Kids who sign up for Phoenix High will be required to meet state learning guidelines and WASL standards.  Close supervision is what makes Phoenix High School different than other similar programs.

An information meeting on Phoenix High School is scheduled for 6 pm, July 17 at the Southridge High School auditorium.