District Sees 'STEP' Program Success

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MSD of Decatur Township calls the pilot program a success. MSD of Decatur Township calls the pilot program a success.

An Indianapolis school district is partnering with the University of Chicago on a research-based program designed to boost high school graduation rates. The Metropolitan School District of Decatur Township says the STEP program allows it to track student performance trends such as grades, discipline and interaction to develop tailored lesson plans.

The district used attendance, grade point average and other data points to choose 80 freshmen and sophomores to take part in the pilot program. After six months, it is reporting a 31 percent increase in the number of "on-track" freshmen, meaning those that are passing required algebra and English classes as well as a majority of their other required courses. District leaders say another 25 percent of STEP students are one grade away from qualifying as on-track.

The STEP program uses weekly data trends to monitor student performance and identify "at-risk" ninth and tenth grade students for the opportunity to enroll in a school structure tailored to their needs. Assistant Superintendent Nate Davis calls the program a "tremendous opportunity for struggling students to get back on track in a tangible way."

MSD of Decatur Township calls the pilot program a success, and says it will continue to implement the initiative in hopes of improving achievement rates each year.

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