Without their success in the credit recovery program at Schofield Middle School this summer, a number of teenagers across Aiken County would have had to repeat a grade.

A number of middle school students from several schools had failed science, math, English or more than one – but not by much. Each had the opportunity, over a three-week period, to take formal online lessons and required tests to earn a passing grade of 70. The students at Schofield included those from that school, as well as students from Aiken Middle School and Kennedy Middle School.

Credit recovery is important not only to the middle school students, but to the Aiken County School District, as well, said Schofield Principal Dr. Lloydette Young.

“We don’t want them to be retained in their (current) grade if they can do the work,” she said. “This can make sure they graduate on time, and it also fills in the academic gaps for them. They can work at their own pace on the computer and get feedback immediately.”

The students and their families have plenty of incentive to do well on the computer lessons. But there’s a monetary issue, as well, said Evan Lamar, a School District teacher and the summer instructor. The program costs families $140.

Some students may need the entire three weeks to earn a passing grade. Others can come in and get their work completed in just two days.

Several years ago, the credit recovery concept brought students into a formal class with a teacher. A total of 109 students participated at the Schofield site, which would have required a lot of teachers under the older structure.

“The students in all the middle schools grades can work on what they need,” Lamar said. “It’s rewarding for them.”

Rashad Roland also worked with the students this summer. He previously was a paraprofessional at Leavelle McCampbell Middle School and is moving to Schofield as a parenting coordinator.

Some students weren’t always pushing themselves during the school year, Roland said.

“They realized they needed to work and get it right,” he said. “The (older) students welcomed the opportunity to avoid sticking around the eighth grade.”

Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard’s education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001. He is a native of Walterboro and majored in journalism at the University of Georgia.