Back on Track program helping Lee County students regain lost progress

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz Writer: Joey Pellegrino

During the pandemic, many skills were either lost by students or never learned at all, and lost credits are putting many high schoolers in danger of not graduated, so the School District of Lee County is helping high school students gain back lost credits through a program called Back on Track.

The program utilizes Edgenuity, an online learning platform where students can either stay after school to work with teachers or connect with them via Zoom, allowing them to earn back whatever credit they may have lost that semester. It’s self-paced, so students can do it on their own time, but there are teachers available to help motivate and guide them. Back on Track started in May 2021 as a way to help students who fell behind as a result of the pandemic.

“It’s one of our top priorities, closing the gap and accelerating how many of our students are on-time; graduation… graduation has always been one of our goals that we have,” said Candace Alevato, LCSD’s director of curriculum for high schools. “This aligns directly with making sure our students are college- and/or career-ready. And you can’t be those things unless you are actually an on-time graduate.”

The program was so successful last year that the District decided to bring it back to all 15 of its traditional high schools in 2021. With so many high school students involved in clubs, athletics and jobs, LCSD felt it was important to provide a flexible way to earn back that credit and graduate on time. It is free to all high school students in the District, funded by money from the CARES Act.

“They appreciate the additional opportunity,” Allevato said. “They don’t have to give something else up. It allows balance to also help ensure that everything we’re doing is to make sure they’re successful. That on-time graduation… that’s the part that I can’t stress enough to our families is we want to see them walk across the stage in those four years just as much as the students want to and their families want it.”

If your student failed a course recently or needs help making up credit for whatever reason, contact their school to learn how to get started with the Back on Track program. The Lee County School Board is set to discuss Back on Track, as well as the other ways CARES Act money was utilized, at a workshop Monday.

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