September 30, 2021
NEWPORT - The Newport School of Innovation - the mostly online program launched three years ago by the Newport Independent Schools district - continues to grow and attract new students into the district.
NSOI, as the school is known, has started the school year with 32 students, an increase of 10 students from last year. And with some new opportunities for students to enroll that have been approved by the district's administration and the Newport Board of Education, Newport Innovation Coordinator Josh Snapp expects additional enrollment throughout the school year.
"The administration and the board of education realize that we have something here that can appeal to a lot of students and families, so they are taking steps to broaden the appeal and opportunities for students," Snapp said.
NSOI is now offering home school curriculum for $60 a course to families across the state of Kentucky, not just in the Newport school district.
"We have had some students enrolled that were being home-schooled, and we found that many of the families needed help and support with the curriculum," Snapp said.
Newport has also reduced out-of-district tuition from $4,000 a year to $1,500 for NOSI students.
"It's working so well, mainly because of the flexibility, that we want to open the school up for more students, and reducing tuition will help make that happen," Snapp said. "The traditional classroom setting does not work for all students. Here, students are more relaxed, they take advantage of flex scheduling and that leads to successful independent learning."
NOSI is also attracting students who work and want the flexibility the school offers; those who want to work at an accelerated pace and graduate early and earn college credits while still in high school or both.
"We had one student graduate last year who earned enough college credits to nearly have an associate degree," Snapp said.
NSOI is designed for students who are home-schooled, do not fit into a traditional setting, or have family or personal issues that prevent their regular attendance in a classroom during normal school hours.
Students learn through attending classes with individualized instruction and through online courses. Some were homeless and living on the streets but attending NSOI has given them the time and opportunity to attend school and also find jobs and housing.
Other opportunities include tutoring, dual credit post-secondary courses, internships, and community service projects.
NSOI has partnerships with the Campbell County Library, Brighton Center social services, Northern Kentucky University and Gateway Community and Technical College. Additionally, Snapp and Mullins have met with more than 30 Newport business owners and operators, seeking input on skills employers look for when hiring high school students and graduates.
NSOI offers four programs that are designed to meet the needs of students across the region:
Trailblazer accepts 5th through 12th grade students whose parents would like to homeschool with educational guidance, support, and extracurricular opportunities. No state testing is administered, but MAP testing is encouraged to show progress. The cost of Trailblazer is $60 per course.
Go Steady is for 9th through 12th grade students who are expecting, a young parent, caring for a family member, or students who need a more flexible schedule in order to work. Coursework is delivered digitally. Many students participate in family literacy programs and independent living seminars. Students are required to attend testing preparation and state testing.
Ascend is for 9th through 12th grade students who would like to either graduate early or would like the opportunity to receive dual credit classes to get a jump start on their post-secondary education. Coursework is delivered primarily digitally, however students must attend district MAP testing and state testing.
The CARE program is for 5th through 12th grade students who have difficulty fitting into a traditional learning environment. These students may have anxiety or may be struggling with a private issue. Coursework is delivered primarily digitally, however students must attend district MAP testing and attend state testing.