February 24, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Detroit's EAA offers high school students flexible summer schedule

Detroit — Six high schools operated by the Education Achievement Authority will allow students to perform school work online at home and earn credit for internships during the summer as part of the district’s new trimester schedule.

The change, announced Monday by EAA officials, is to provide more flexibility for students to work summer jobs and get other experience while still attending classes on the district’s year-round, 210-day school calendar.

Under the new trimester plan, students at Central Collegiate Academy, Denby, Ford, Mumford, Pershing and Southeastern high schools can choose from three flexible learning plans that will reduce the time students must spend in the classroom in the summer while maintaining the academic rigor of their studies, EAA spokesman Terry Abbott said.

The options include online learning from home or anywhere else, completion of academic requirements in time for a longer summer break, and credit for work, internships, camps and other summer activities.

“High school students have told us that they need to be able to work summer jobs, spend time with their families, volunteer in their communities and do other things during the summer that are important to them in addition to completing their school work,” EAA Chancellor John Covington said.

EAA students attend school about six weeks longer than other Michigan students who attend traditional public schools, which are required to provide at least 170 days of instruction.

The EAA is in its second school year running 15 Detroit schools with persistently low academic achievement.

Last week, state Superintendent Mike Flanagan canceled the EAA’s exclusive contract to be the only operator of Michigan’s failing schools.

Flanagan notified the EAA and Covington in a letter that the state was terminating language that gave the recovery district sole responsibility to take over the lowest-performing schools in Michigan through 2026.

EAA officials say students in the district have made substantial academic progress, with 59 percent achieving 1.5 or more years’ growth in reading and 58 percent of students achieving 1.5 or more years’ growth in math.

However, the district has suffered enrollment losses, with its number of students falling nearly 24 percent from fall 2012 to fall 2013.

This past fall, the EAA enrolled 7,589 students in K-12 at its 15 schools — 2,369 fewer than in 2012, when it had 9,958 students across 12 direct-run schools and three charter schools.

At the same time, Detroit Public Schools saw a 14 percent enrollment increase at its 19 high schools.

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