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Harrisburg Students On Fast Track To Graduation

April 28, 2014, 5:05 PM by Don Jorgensen

Harrisburg Students On Fast Track To Graduation
HARRISBURG, SD -

Harrisburg students could be on the fast track to graduating from high school.  Monday night, the school board will vote on whether to expand an accelerated program which allows students to work at their own pace in certain subjects, such as math and science.

At Harrisburg High School, the freshman class has been using a pilot program this year that allows students to work at their own pace.

Eleni Belbas is one of them.

"I like this because it enables me to progress farther than I could in a normal schedule," Belbas said.

The accelerated program, called "Modular Schedule Mass Customized Learning", is also flexible enough that it allows students to take more time for certain subjects, if they need it.

"If I'm not good at fractions or something, I can slow down and do those and if I want to speed through something, I can do that in like one day," Zac Selchert said.

Students who excel in the program are hoping they'll be able to graduate early and begin taking college courses during their junior and senior years.  But not every student works at the same pace.

"We do have students who are behind and we're addressing that in different ways.  We do things called interventions, bring in the whole family, all the teachers and say, 'This is how you can catch up,'" principal Kevin Lein said.

To stay on pace or work ahead, students say you have to stay focused.

"It's hard if you don't continue to work, you have to learn how to constantly work and not stop," Belbas said.

Although it's only the first year of the program, administrators say the freshman class has done well.

"That class of students is either at neutral, they are where they would have been anyway, or they are much further along and if that's the case then, I feel good about the board going forward and saying, 'Let's continue this for the next class,'" Lein said.

The Harrisburg School Board will vote on whether or not to expand the program to the sophomore class at its meeting Monday night, which starts at 5:30 p.m.

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