The Reawakening Individual Student Excellence Program (R.I.S.E.) at DDHS targets students who are at-risk of not graduating with a regular high school diploma. The program is intended for juniors, seniors and fifth-year seniors. It is a "school-within-a-school" and gives selected students a "second chance" at graduating with their classmates by completing a strict set of competencies in an individualized learning environment. Instruction in the program is research-based and project-driven.
The program involves academic preparation, paid employment, postsecondary training, and/or voluntary work experience. While students attend DDHS on either a morning or afternoon basis, their classrooms extend beyond the four walls of a traditional high school and competency credit is earned for paid employment, voluntary work experience, or postsecondary training in the Delavan-Darien communities and throughout Walworth County. Fifteen hours of work or advanced training a week is expected of participating students.
Credits are broken down into 63 competencies. Competency areas include health and physical education, mathematics, science, social studies, English, and electives/life skills. Since the implementation of R.I.S.E. in the fall of 2009, elective competencies are becoming more student-centered and developed based upon the unique needs and interests of the individual student.
The program started at the beginning of the 2009 school year with a $96,500 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Instruction. The program has been very successful in transforming the educational lives of enrolled students. Program graduates report planning to attend a postsecondary training institution. Participating students are back on track, working hard and "rising" to success.
Facts about the R.I.S.E. Program
- Students entering R.I.S.E. are selected on a competitive basis. No individual student at DDHS is entitled to participate in R.I.S.E. The pupil services team at the high school screens potential candidates. Selected candidates complete an application, which is forwarded to a four-member interview team. This team interviews the student and the student’s parent to determine the appropriateness of a placement. Selection criteria is based on “fit” and the willingness and the commitment of the student to the alternative, second chance of R.I.S.E. Once selected, students and parents sign an individualized contract outlining the terms and conditions of the placement. Students may be terminated from the program for their failure to meet the terms of their contract.
- The R.I.S.E. Program operates in two sessions at the high school, morning (8:00-10:15 a.m.) and afternoon (12:30-2:45 p.m.). Selected students will attend either the morning or afternoon sessions. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the program. R.I.S.E. students are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities and events offered to students in the traditional high school.
- Students will be expected to attend R.I.S.E. during the 180 regular school days, as well as on designated days during the summer term.
- Students are required to have a job, be actively looking for a job, be involved in advanced training leading to future employment (for example, CNA training), participate in voluntary work experience, participate in extracurricular activities or the combination of any of the aforementioned for a minimum of 15 hours per week. These efforts are applied to required competencies.
- Completion of R.I.S.E. requires the demonstration of 63 educational competencies. Competencies are acquired by students' participation in a variety of hands-on, community-based and school-based educational activities that promote skill and concept development. In this program, students will have to show and/or prove that they have acquired the skill and knowledge inherent in each of the particular competencies. A demonstration level of 80 percent is considered mastery of a competency.
- Students will be awarded competencies for credits earned up to their admission into R.I.S.E. A conversion process has been developed so that generated credits can be applied to competencies and competencies applied to credits. It is highly unlikely that any student will start in R.I.S.E. with no competencies earned given this conversion process. Consequently, if it is determined that a student was not a good fit in the program, competencies earned can be converted to credits so the student is not penalized for competency attainment and time away from the traditional school program while in R.I.S.E.
- Competency attainment can and will occur at any time. The harder a student works, the sooner he or she will be done with R.I.S.E. While students may complete the terms of R.I.S.E. before their peer group in the regular high school setting, they will be awarded a high school diploma when their class graduates.