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Kent Schools’s iGrad enrollment doubles
By Ross Coyle
With its ranks swelling, Kent’s iGrad program has expanded to a 4,000-square-foot building formerly occupied by a Kent real estate company.
With 564 students enrolled, iGrad has doubled in size. The growth reflects an increased demand for iGrad’s services from at risk students and high school dropouts. It is the first program of its kind in Washington state.
“We had to send kids home for a couple of weeks until I acquired the space and got it open,” said iGrad Principal Carol Cleveland.
The name iGrad is an acronym for Individualized Graduation and Diploma program, which started as a partnership with Green River Community College and a $20,000 endowment from the state. The free program is open to students between the ages of 16 and 21.
Cleveland said she’s had to wait list other students in the GED program, which is at capacity at 150 students.
iGrad’s most desired programs are split between culinary arts, dental assistants and the visual arts, as well as technical programs like computer programming, engineering and robotics. Because not all of these programs are offered at Green River Community College, Cleveland is reaching out to the Puget Sound Skills Center in Burien.
The new building provides two additional classrooms, seven offices, a nurses station and two conference rooms.
“It’s a nicer facility than the facility that I currently have,” Cleveland said.
The student body isn’t the only thing expanding at iGrad. The alternative school now offers three other credential options in addition to its original three: an industry certificate for those with trade schools in mind, a college certificate and a two year degree option, the equivalent of a community college degree.
With the influx of new students, new staff was needed. Cleveland has added a part-time educational assistant and a full time data processor, as well as counselor and a special needs teacher. She is looking for a full time math teacher, as well as an English Langue Learners teacher and paraeducator. The new building also needs a second security guard.
With classes offered in three-hour blocks available throughout the day and evening, the specialized alternative school helps reengage dropouts and students at risk of dropping out of high school by providing them with the resources to learn on their own time. Classes are offered Monday through Thursday while Fridays are dedicated to individual and small group tutoring as well as counseling services.
“Kent School District offers a second chance for students who want to complete this phase of their education,” said Kent Superintendent Edward Lee Vargas in a statement. “The demand for our programs shows how eager people are to succeed.”
Ross Coyle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 253-872-6600, ext. 5056. To comment on this story log on to www.covingtonreporter.com.