Helping Eaton students graduate

By Kelsey Kimbler -

EATON — Eaton High School officials dedicate themselves to helping students prepare for the future. One of the ways they do this is through a new class taught by Aaron Buczkowski, called Credit Recovery.

Credit Recovery is a program the administration created last year and the district brought in Buczkowski to teach it. He has been teaching since 2003, with two undergraduate degrees from Miami University and a master’s degree from Wright State. He has taught in parochial schools, and more notably, worked as a teacher and administrator in juvenile corrections facilities.

Buczkowski describes his class “as a way to bring the students back in the building who were out of the building getting services elsewhere. — as a way to help students who were in danger of not graduating. There are a number of students who are at risk because of a number of different factors. The program is designed to help them, to make sure that they graduate and get a diploma. Also, something that we’ve been doing a little bit this year, is using it for honors students who couldn’t fit in a different course because of scheduling. It gives them a chance to do some courses remotely.”

Before this class, students who had issues from health to court-related situations were getting help from the Preble County Educational Service Center, but the Credit Recovery class brings the students back to school and seeks to help them in the classroom.

Kids in the class have been in high school three, four or five years, but they are not juniors or seniors by credit, according to Buczkowski. Instead, they are classified as freshmen or sophomores.

Students are not “forced” to take this class, but they are shown “it is the most likely outcome.” Buczkowski added, “There are some students who elect to be in there because of their deficiency and they understand that this is a way to accelerate their education. The honor kids who take things are of their own free will.”

Students in Credit Recovery are not in “normal classes;” instead they are “housed within Credit Recovery.” They arrive at school by 7:30 a.m., at which point Buczkowski hosts a morning meeting. At 7:50 a.m. they go into their first work block of the day, then they have a 10 minute break, followed by another work block in which they do a group activity, lunch, then another group activity (typically current events based) and then Credit Recovery splits.

Some of the students continue on with their academic day, but others are a part of the Work Program.

These students are earning credit hours for hours worked in the community. Assistant Principal Ross Dearth helps with this part of the program. He assists the students in finding jobs.

This part of the program has another aspect to it: when the students participate in the Work Program, they also have to take an additional course geared toward their future. This will be a course like Intro to IT, or Intro to Architecture, Health and Human Services, or whatever future the students are interested in.

Buczkowski explained, “You might be slinging burgers at Sonic, but what is your end goal when you leave school?”

The classes are mostly taught online, which leaves a lot of planning and grading for Buczkowski. The software is not just “pointing and clicking.” There are opportunities for Buczkowski to work with the students “one-on-one” or with their peers. Peer tutoring is encouraged, but Buczkowski has to monitor the sessions to make sure the students are on track.

He added, “We’re trying to blend it, so they have three group activities a day. The brain teaser, political cartoon, and journaling. Then trying to get them out into the community for different field trips. We’ve had limited success with trying to do that. Just because of moving that large a body.”

Currently, there is only one honor student in the program. The class has 30 “licenses” and most of the students are credit deficient. There are currently 24 student’s in class: three are on home instruction, and then there is the single honor student, leaving two slots open at this time.

A singular student, having been in high school for 5 years, graduated already due to the program. He will walk in May with his peers, but he no longer has to attend class. In fact, the district is helping him get enrolled at Miami University Middletown for spring semester.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH