A “fairlead” is a nautical device used to guide a line, rope, or cable around an object or out of the way, thus enabling the sailor to pilot the craft. Fairlead Academy does much the same by taking struggling students and guiding them through any challenging years of high school – helping them avoid obstacles that they may have encountered in their home high school.
Data shows that students who struggle and are retained for one year increase in likelihood of becoming dropouts by 40 to 50 percent. A second retention increases this risk by 90 percent (Darling-Hammond & Falk, 1997). Being held back twice makes dropping out a virtual certainty. Retention disproportionately affects minority and economically disadvantaged students (Guide from the U.S. Department of Education, 1999). There is a growing awareness among educators nationwide that ninth and tenth grade are make-or-break years. Collaboration between the Freshman Academy and Fairlead Academy is essential. This is why St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS) has created the guided pathway to high school success. Fairlead Academy integrates organization, instructional and interpersonal guidance into all courses required for a Maryland high school diploma.
Teaching will be differentiated to students’ particular areas of need and interest. Each student will be coached through the curriculum at their most appropriate pace. Tenth and eleventh grade students attend Fairlead Academy for 4-5 periods a day for their core academic subjects along with 2-3 classes at their home high school or the Forrest Center in order to fulfill graduation requirements. Students who are graduating are scheduled on a case-by-case basis to ensure
that state graduation requirements are met. See the school Counselor for details regarding scheduling.
Students will travel on field trips as incentives for excellent attendance and dedicated learning. These experiences will extend classroom instruction and
expose students to the alternate employment opportunities and experiences beyond the traditional classroom. Focus is placed on career and college readiness for every student.
To teach a child you must know a child. The Fairlead Academy staff will know their students well. This means that we teach the whole child by recognizing that many struggling students have distractors that must be addressed before academic pursuits can become their focus. Interpersonal components that develop students’ academic confidence and self-esteem are included in the program. Here at Fairlead Academy focus is placed on every student making a
personal connection between education and their future career or college goals.
Constant monitoring of student progress and an active coaching and mentoring model carries students through their first years of high school. Our goal is to have ALL students earn the necessary credits on graduate on time. This will set students on the road to career and college success.