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Alternative plans: Kingsport’s Cora Cox Academy set to split into three programs

December 20th, 2013 12:58 pm by Rick Wagner

Alternative plans: Kingsport’s Cora Cox Academy set to split into three programs

Cora Cox Academy teacher Andy Irvine work on an English project recently with Madison Gott and Susanne Blevins. Photo by David Grace.

KINGSPORT — The city school system’s alternative school is not just about addressing disciplinary issues any more.

Cora Cox Academy is about to split into three programs, if plans by Principal Stephanie Tweed and Director of Secondary Education Carmen Bryant are implemented.

Ironically, the plans mean that one of the oldest structures in the system could house 21st century-style, technology-savvy online and non-traditional high school programs.

In a recent report to the Kingsport Board of Education, Tweed went over the plans, which include putting disciplinary students remanded from Dobyns-Bennett High School into modular units at the Cora Cox campus in August 2014.

That Phase 1 also would include starting another mostly online non-traditional “blended” high school program in the main building, with a learning center and focus on core courses such as math and English.

Phase 2, starting in August 2015, also would include a virtual high school open to any Tennessee student but — Director of Schools Lyle Ailshie said — focused on city students.

That virtual academy would use a combination of home and school, with the school component including face-to-face tutoring and end-of-course and other tests.

The target would be any student wanting or needing a flexible schedule. The students would receive either a 22-credit Tennessee diploma or a 28-credit Kingsport City Schools diploma,

The Cora Cox Academy for disciplinary students would be partially online, with content teachers in math, English, science and social students rotating into the classes and individual tutoring as needed.

A full-time lab assistant would help in a traditional school schedule.

The non-traditional program for Cora Cox would be in the main building, with a blended learning environment of online and in-person teaching.

Tweed said it and the online program could serve students looking for credit recovery to graduate on time, as well as for students who want to get on an accelerated track to college.

Collaborative space and a cyber lounge space would be offered, and with flexible scheduling it would offer a fluid program for students.

That also would allow all three programs to serve more students, since Cora Cox has limited space.

Of almost 70 students currently enrolled there, about 10 are there for disciplinary reasons. The rest chose to be there.

Six are middle school students, and they would continue in the current, more traditional instruction mode.

The school, formerly known as the New Horizons Alternative School, is at 520 Myrtle St. in the former Lee School building, which dates back to the late 1910s.

Tweed said eventually the school will outgrow the building.

“We could end up with 200 or 300 students being served there,” Ailshie said.

In Phase 1, the disciplinary students would receive a D-B diploma requiring 28 credits, but in Phase 2 students could receive either a KCS 28-credit diploma or a 22-credit state diploma.

Tweed said that online classes at other city schools would continue as they are.

Ailshie said he has been pleased as he’s watched Tweed, Bryant and D-B Principal Chris Hampton.

He said he looks forward to the system marketing Cora Cox Academy’s virtual and non-traditional options to students, letting them know there’s a choice other than the almost 2,000-student D-B.

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