A second chance at high school

BY CINDY CARTER, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – Everyone makes mistakes, especially teens that are tirelessly testing their boundaries. But some decisions can cost you more than you bargained for, such as your education. But a little known organization exists right around the corner that works to empower those teens and young adults who once ventured into murky waters but wish to come out on top.

MYcroSchool is located at 840 Third Ave. S, and for three years has been working toward helping youths aged 16-21 gain a second chance at a high school diploma.

Principal Michael Warren

Principal Michael Warren

“Our main objective is to reengage students,” said MYcroSchool Principal Michael Warren. He feels by providing a school setting that caters to the unique needs of dropouts, or those at risk of dropping out, not only benefits them academically but socially as well.

The best part, it’s all free. MYcroSchool even works with Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority to provide monthly bus passes to enrolled students so there’s nothing preventing prospective students from getting their high school diplomas.

As a public charter high school, MYcroSchool works under the same curriculum guidelines as traditional public schools, but with a few intentional modifications to cater to the unique needs of its students.

For starters, there are two sessions to the school day. Students can attend the morning session that runs from 7:30-11:30 a.m., or the afternoon session, which begins at 12:30 p.m. and continues until 4:30 p.m.

“That’s to help out those students who have to work to support families,” Warren explained. This is a workable solution for young parents or students who are on their own and need to work in order to pay the bills.

Although students are still responsible to take all Florida standardized tests, Warren believes the MYcroSchool route is a much better option than getting a GED, or worse, not obtaining a high school diploma at all.

Another difference that the staff is proud of is the blended curriculum as well as letting students work at their own pace. In-class instructional teachers are employed in every subject, but MYcroSchool also boasts a computer component where students use computers to complete course work that allow them not to be subjected to as much seat time.

In traditional schools, Warren explained that students tend to sit 180 days a school year and work at the pace of the teacher, but students at MYcroSchool have the ability to quicken or slow that pace to one that is beneficial to their own unique learning style. The goal is for every student to show mastery of a subject, which is deemed at 80 percent accuracy on all completed assignments.

Word of mouth has helped enroll the 204 students currently attending, but there is still roughly 70 spaces left to be filled. Warren wants to fill those seats and help even more youths who may have had to drop out of school for various circumstances get back on track with their education and futures.

This year a record breaking number of graduates picked up their diplomas to a crowd of smiling faces. And MYcroSchool wants to accommodate as many local youths as possible and help them on the right path. Some graduates go on to enter colleges and trade schools in the area, while others use their high school diploma to enter the military. But mostly they are just happy to have accomplished their goal of a traditional high school diploma, not a GED.

“A lot do come in because they want that high school diploma and they’ll figure out their next move later,” Warren said.

MYcroSchool services youths aged 16-21 with a ninth through twelfth grade curriculum. Although no advanced classes are offered, they provide core curriculum in all subjects. Extra-curricular activities are encouraged and students 18 and younger wishing to get involved in clubs or sports have the option of doing so at their home-based school. They only need to maintain a 2.0 grade point average and be in good standing attendance wise at MYcroSchool.

Prospective students can fill out a student interest survey online at mycroschool.org or stop by the facility and take a tour and complete any needed paperwork right then.

“The easiest way to do it is to fill out an application and take care of it all right then and there,” said Warren who touts MYcroSchool’s open enrollment so students can sign up anytime throughout the year. He hopes by inserting themselves in the community, the overall environment of south St. Petersburg will improve.

“We know the more people that are educated, the less you have doing delinquent things,” he said.

MYcroSchool is a small school set on providing a relaxed comfortable feeling so students feel like they are getting the attention they need.

“We provide an environment where they come in, feel welcome, feel warmth,” said Warren. “They might have been out two or three years, or they might have had a bad experience, but we try to make it a more home feeling environment.”

For more information drop by MYcroSchool, log onto their website or give them a call Mon.-Fri. at (727) 825-3710. Sign up is currently underway for the beginning of a bright new future.

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