In 2001, the Nauset Regional School District initiated a program entitled ACCESS, designed to meet the needs of students who might otherwise not complete high school.
There are wide and varied reasons why students may decide not to complete high school through the traditional school program. These include available courses, scheduling, family situations, drug/alcohol issues, and just not “fitting in”. Many leave because of feelings of failure, rejection, anxiety and isolation. Regardless of the reasons, students who leave will forever be stigmatized socially and economically.
Therefore, the goal of Access is to design a program for each student that provides the academic course requirements for graduation, options for credit recovery, as well as individual accommodations and support for social and psychological issues.
An integral part of the program is the work component. Students are required to work, volunteer or intern with an approved business or organization. Students receive academic credit each grading period for their work experience. The intention of work experience is to provide experiences in meeting the requirements for success in the world outside of the school. Being on time, completing assigned tasks, listening and following directions as well as earnings based on meeting the requirements of the job are enormous cross over experiences for students in the program.
The academic portion of the program provides the mandatory core requirements for English, Math, History and Science in many formats. Standard teacher directed classes are small and adapted to the specific instructional needs of the students. There are supervised independent study courses which may be designed around a student’s interests, one on one tutorials for core and credit requirements, special intensive MCAS preparation in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science, and supervised online classes completed both inside and outside the classroom.
Admission to the program is based on a referral from a counselor, Vice Principal, a parent, or in some cases students themselves. The issues responsible for the referral may be poor academic achievement, failure to progress to the next grade, probability of not having enough credits to graduate on time, disciplinary issues, attendance, home and family issues, medical and mental health issues or even family financial issues.
In conclusion students who enroll in Access are considered to be part of the regular student population. They are entitled to attend all events of the school, including participation in graduation. Students are bound by the Student Code of Conduct and other rules as printed in the student handbook. However, they are provided an individually designed program that is uniquely suited to meet their needs. The administration and staff of the program are committed to every student in the program receiving a high school diploma and opening a path to personal success beyond high school.