At Beebe Schools, we strive to ensure every student has a fair opportunity to receive an education and ultimately, a high school diploma. New this school year, the DREAM Academy is helping to make that vision a reality. This non-traditional HUB program, serviced by Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative, is geared toward helping at-risk students succeed in a school setting that is tailored to their goals and needs.
DREAM Academy gives students a flexible option that is positive and career focused. It is open to Grades 9-12 but is primarily for students in 11th and 12th Grade who have extenuating circumstances and may be at risk of dropping out. According to DREAM Academy Manager Chris Bailey, 38 students are already enrolled in the program with their numbers continually growing. “We can house up to 15 students at a time, and they are split into four groups, so we can accommodate up to 60 kids,” he explained. Small class sizes allow for Mr. Bailey and DREAM Academy instructor Kristen Vanadda to provide the support needed for the associates, as they are identified, to stay on track.
In the HUB program, students work in an online curriculum through APEX and Google Classroom. A typical schedule for a DREAM Academy associate is half a day for two days per week, either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday. On Fridays, DREAM Academy associates will often have the opportunity to take career-related trips. If students are unable to keep up with their class work on this schedule, it will be adjusted to meet their needs. Mr. Bailey explained that normally associates would maintain a typical high school credit workload; however, if a student is behind, arrangements can be made for that student to take more credits than normal in order to graduate on time. The mission of the HUB is to meet each individual’s needs in successfully completing their high school coursework while also preparing them for the work force or whatever that student’s next step may be.
DREAM Academy’s vision is to help its associates “actively learn, engage, and thrive in richly productive and collaborative ways.” At this time, approximately 35 schools in Arkansas have HUB programs through Arch Ford Coop. The purpose of bringing this option to Beebe is to provide an attainable goal for students who are struggling with the traditional schedule of high school. This can be due to various reasons, but students must exhibit at least two barriers to being successful in order to be eligible.
If a student or his or her guardians believe The DREAM Academy may be a good fit, the first step would be to acquire a referral packet from BHS counselor Mrs. Cheryl Nesler. If, after completing the referral packet, the student, counselor, principal, and DREAM Academy manager believe the student would thrive in the HUB environment, placement will take place.
DREAM Academy is a unique opportunity for those students who may not have felt that they had a path to graduation before now. It is yet another way that the Beebe School Community is fulfilling its vision of “Preparing Every Student for Success!”