About the School
Huston Academy in Stephenville, Texas is one of two public charter schools managed by the Erath Excels Academy School District. Together the two charter schools serve about 160 students from grades 7-12. This unique school district is student-centered, deeply engaged with the local community, and committed to providing a safe, non-traditional learning environment for all students, including those with distinct learning needs.
The mission and model of public charter schools can vary considerably however many of them are designed to meet the needs of students for whom the traditional one-size-fits-all public school will not work. Huston Academy provides a number of specialized programs such as credit and dropout recovery for students, while taking their individual life circumstances into account. This personalized approach to education allows the school to serve students who may be facing a diverse range of challenges and situations that can adversely affect their studies.
Since they are public schools, charter schools are open to all students, do not charge tuition, have no special requirements for admission and are not associated with any religion. However, schools such as Huston Academy also face unique challenges given their focus on creating alternate learning opportunities for students who would not benefit from a standardized school structure.
One of Huston Academy’s biggest challenges is to keep students motivated and engaged. Given the right environment and strategy, many students can successfully retake a course or redo coursework. Furthermore, most students who leave high school do so for non-academic reasons. Huston Academy’s programs and approach provides students a high degree of flexibility that fits their individual life situations and this is often a difficult undertaking. In one situation when a student became increasingly homebound and was eventually unable to attend school, the administration and teachers had to think and respond outside the box to create a solution.
The Huston Academy has been a CDI client since 2007 and over time a stable business relationship has been established based on trust and good customer service. In 2016, the school district purchased over 80 Chromebooks from CDI and has been very pleased with both quality and performance. The Chromebooks along with previously purchased devices have helped them achieve 1:1 learning, putting a computer in front of every student.
Notably, one of the Chromebooks purchased from CDI was given to the student who had become homebound. The Chromebook and dedicated support from a teacher allowed this student to continue their education at home without any major interruptions. In the near future, Huston Academy will be creating more opportunities for digital learning at home, while implementing the necessary measures to optimally leverage and protect the district’s technology investments.
In honoring their commitment to meeting the individual needs of students, Huston Academy’s education technology investments create a larger social benefit. “To a great degree, we try to level the playing field for our students,” Superintendent Mike Scott observed. He noted that the Chromebooks and laptops combined with online learning software have kept students engaged, motivated and enabled them to continue with their studies. “The Chromebooks have also opened up new possibilities for what our teachers and students can achieve inside and outside of the classroom,” he added.