The term "dropout" is marked by negative undertones drawn from stigmas that characterize this group. What we don't hear are the stories that prove these non-completers want to make a change but are often faced with limited options to get a high school diploma. "With the advent of ATB students not being allowed to attend career colleges and schools, it puts them in a void and really difficult position. Realizing that we thought we could put a high school program into our school and help these students," says Patricia Fischer, CEO Dorsey. Today's non-traditional learners require more than the slim options currently provided by the traditional educational landscape. Through our post-secondary partnerships, Penn Foster is helping students obtain their high school diploma by offering programs tailored for nontraditional learners-because everyone deserves a second chance.

Taking Limits out of Options

When Toya Washington took the first steps toward improving her life, she turned to the GED. "I had been trying to get my GED because it's quicker. I had one more " I passed every course except math. But by the time I was ready to get it, they shut it down. I had to redo the whole thing over again and the price went high." Motivated by career aspirations, Toya knew a high school diploma was her ticket to gainful employment. Upon learning about Dorsey School's partnership with Penn Foster and the High School Completion program, she enrolled and began her journey. "Now as far as Penn Foster, not only could I do it at my own pace, I also had help and got pushed and that's what made me work harder to get my high school diploma. It feels awesome. Like it's overwhelming. It's something I've been trying to do for years...and I feel great about myself for doing it."

With Blended Learning, it's Never Too Late

Making school a priority after succumbing to adversity makes these students even more motivated to achieve their goals. Sadly, many times students are over 18 years of age once they've figured out their home life, and this can narrow their options for high school re-enrollment. Shatea Hill did not let age become a barrier to earning a diploma. "I didn't think it would be possible for me to get my diploma after so much time out of school because you know, after a certain amount of time you can't go to a regular High School Completion, you have to go to a GED type of thing. But with Penn Foster, it doesn't matter how old you are." Shatea adds, "If it wasn't for Penn Foster and Dorsey coming together to help people out like me who want to go to school but just don't know how, it was great. As a parent, you can't really expect your children to succeed if you're not showing them how. So when I found out about the Penn Foster program, I was like okay, now I can prove to my kids that if I can do it, you can do it."

Gateway to Post-Secondary Success

Non-completers face difficult home lives or traumatic life events that cause them to abandon school altogether. For Nikkiya Gentry, it was a combination of life and health complications. "At the age of 19 I got diagnosed with aplastic anemia. They told me I had 6 months to live. I said 6 months? I need to get it together." Not only did Nikkiya earn her high school diploma through Dorsey's Schools Partnership with Penn Foster's High School Completion Program, but she's also now in enrolled in her second semester as a culinary arts student. "It did a lot to my confidence. At first I was very closed, shy, depressed, but now I'm very open. I talk to almost anybody."

Watch this short Dorsey Schools/Penn Foster High School Class of 2014 Graduation Video, and hear directly from the students what the second chance meant to them.

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