Local school district reps speak nationally

Published 3:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2016

Not often are representatives from a small school district in the rural South invited to speak at a national educational conference, especially at a conference that focuses on dropout prevention.

However, Dr. Mark Head and Jeff McClure will represent the Pike County School System at the 2016 National Dropout Prevention Network Conference in Detroit, Michigan, on Oct. 2-5.

Head is the administrative assistant to the superintendent of Pike County Schools, and Jeff McClure is director of alternative learning and distance educator facilitator for Pike County Schools,

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Dr. Mark Bazzell, superintendent of Pike County Schools, said it is a great honor for the Pike County Schools to be represented at the national conference and it also validates what the Pike County School System is doing in the area of dropout prevention.

“Through our Virtual High School, we are making it possible for students to catch up with their classmates and provide an avenue for these students to graduate with their classes,” Bazzell said. “The Virtual High School also allows students who want to achieve an increased academic challenge to achieve their goals.”

Head and McClure have been involved with the Pike County Schools Virtual High School from the beginning and are continually looking for ways and designing programs that will “keep kids in school.”

Head said the Virtual High School includes the county school system’s academy programs, seven of them, Global Studies and Credit Recovery.

Head said he and McClure are honored to have the opportunity to speak at the National Dropout Prevention Network Conference.

“A lot of schools look like Pike County High School – median income, population — and I think a lot of the schools represented at the dropout prevention conference will be interested in what we are doing,” he said. “We’ve got good stuff going on and it’s offered to our students at no cost. We make staying in school as easy as possible by offering opportunities for students to recover credits they have lost in a way that they can graduate with their classmates.”

We also make it possible for students to begin college with an associate degree that is a savings of about $35,000.”

McClure said an associate degree often opens doors that would not be available to someone with a just a high school diploma.

“Of course, our academy programs allow students to take classes in areas of special interests,” he said. “That appeals to a lot of students. All of these programs keep students in school who would have dropped out otherwise. They are working for our students and can be implemented in schools in urban areas and in rural areas. And, can be successful in both.

“We have simply made these type programs a priority and our local leadership and school board have made this all possible and facilitate our ever-developing partnerships.”

Head and McClure will speak at a conference workshop and will also be available to discuss the Pike County Schools’ Virtual High School programs at site visits and informally.

“Jeff and I will be available to talk more in depth with anyone who is interested,” Head said. “We believe in what we are doing with all of our programs. And, we’ll be interested in what other school systems are doing in the area of dropout prevention. We are always acceptable to ideas that will benefit our students.”