In a push to integrate technology into the curriculum, CVHS has joined thousands of schools in offering credit recovery through online programs. For the past two years, students have been able to retake failed classes through Apex Learning, a series of digital based courses that mirror on-campus classes.
“It’s mainly focused on tenth graders who are earning credit recovery from freshman year, so that they can prevent themselves from going to Redwood or summer school,” said teacher Kelly Abbott.
Abbott and history teacher Ian Rodriquez run the high school’s program, which currently offers Health, Freshman English, Algebra 1, and Geometry. The students meet two times a week for two-hour sessions. The courses span over the time of a semester, but students are given the opportunity to work at home at their own pace. Tests, however, must be taken at school.
“We run the program and then we go over how the students are going,” said Rodriquez. “It’s student-centered and it’s paced out. We’re there to provide structure and grade their assignments.”
For the most part, Apex has proven to be beneficial to the students. It acts as a second chance for many, allowing them to make up for their mistakes from freshman year.
“I think the biggest thing with the students that in are there is that they realized that they screwed up last year,” said Abbot. “They’ve seen the material, and maybe did not do the work last year. They just had a little glitch, a little bump in the road.”
Apex Learning had previously been offered at Castro Valley Adult School. Due to its immense success, the district has branched it out to both CVHS and Redwood High School. The adult school continues to support the program, keeping it cost-free to the students.
Yet, there are still issues in trying to accommodate every student who needs credit recovery. About 20 students are actively enrolled in the course, but many more have been placed onto a waiting list. The process to get into the program may take weeks, as they must submit an application and be approved before being placed on the waiting list, where they will further wait until they are enrolled in a class.
The school plans to continue Apex Learning in the future, in hopes that participants will use the program to their advantage, bringing them closer to graduating.
“It’s interesting because I know a lot of these kids. I’ve seen a lot of kids between ninth and tenth grade mature a lot,” said Rodriquez. “There’s a change between freshman year and sophomore year: they realize that it’s not that they couldn’t do the work, but that they chose not to do the work.”