HEFLIN — High school students in Cleburne County wishing to graduate early, or catch up on coursework, may soon have an alternative at their disposal.

At a work session Saturday morning Cleburne County Board of Education members talked about plans to start an afternoon program the system is calling the “opportunity school.”

“School is not what it was,” Superintendent Claire Dryden told board members. “What we’re trying to do is reach out to other students.”

Some students want to graduate early, Dryden said, and the program would allow them to take classes from 3:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. during the week, helping them in that effort. The computer-based classes would be overseen by one teacher and one administrator, and would also take place in conjunction with the district’s alternative school, for students who have been removed from regular classes due to behavioral problems.

The program would also allow students to earn remedial class credits, which was difficult for some students who go to school during the day, Dryden explained.

Both students in alternative and the opportunity school will be taught at the same time, possibly in the same classrooms but not always, Dryden said, and those students will be closely monitored. The program would require an additional hire, but candidates for that position will be selected from the district’s existing high school teachers, Dryden said.

“I think you’re going to find there’s going to be quite a few kids who want to take these classes and get out,” Dryden said.

Creation of the program will likely be discussed at the next board meeting on Aug. 4, Dryden said.

Also discussed at Saturday’s work session was the possibility of the district hiring a part-time technology specialist to work half days at Cleburne County and Ranburne high schools. That person would help teachers navigate the new technology that will come when the system’s student laptops, Google Chromebooks, arrive at about the time school begins this year, Dryden said.

“We really need somebody who’s focused on making sure the teachers are using that technology properly,” Dryden said.


Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.