Chester, Pennsylvania, despite its thriving underlying culture, has an extreme problem with both high school drop-out rates and illiteracy. This poses a huge roadblock in redeveloping the local economy into what it once was – Without a high school diploma, there are very low opportunities for employment and financial success. One of our goals at the Chester Education Foundation (CEF) is to combat some of these issues early on by keeping students motivated to stay in school, which will enable them secure jobs in the future and bolster the local economy.
CEF’s credit recovery program allows students who have received a failing grade in a class to retake the class and improve their grade point average (GPA). This helps mitigate the issue of student retention, because it offers students an opportunity to both regain credits and boost confidence with a passing grade in a class. This program takes place over the summer months and is facilitated by CEF through the Chester-Upland School District’s summer school program, allowing students to retake courses they failed during the regular school year. The credit recovery program is a phenomenal dropout-prevention strategy, because it removes much of the stigma of having to graduate later than one’s peers due to a failed class. With credit recovery, students are given a second chance at classes while still being able to graduate with their fellow classmates, rather than simply failing a class and dropping out due to diminished confidence from a poor grade.
During this year’s program, held from July to August, 130 total students attended at least one day. By the end of the program, 77 students accumulated a total of 94 credits.
The credit recovery program is a prime example of the need for after school services in Chester, and how the implementation of these programs results in direct success for our community’s students. Chester is an area full of bright and innovative people, and the Chester Education Foundation is constantly pushing to make the talents of the citizens of Chester known.