This post was originally published on the ResponsiveEd Newsroom.
For three years, Premier High School – Texarkana has been home to local students whose parents sought, and found, an education model that seems custom made for their kids. Premier opened its doors in 2016 and since then, parents have begun to see that this tuition-free public charter school is much more than they ever realized was available right here in Texarkana, and attendance has been growing each and every year.
This year, 25 students walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, which is up from 15 last year and eight in the school’s inaugural class.
“I love this school and I’m so thankful for it,” exclaims Lisa Hill, mother of graduating senior Cole Hill. “He fell behind in traditional school because he was shy and embarrassed to talk with teachers if he didn’t understand something. Heather McNeill, the campus director, said that wouldn’t happen here because of the small school environment, one-on-one interaction and the teachers being involved and pushing him to take his tests and move through his subjects.”
Cole, whose father passed away a year before coming to Premier, thrived in the smaller environment and overcame the emotional pressures he was under and, this year, received his diploma as salutatorian of the class of 2019. He will begin training as a computer programmer at a local trade school in the fall.
“Students like Cole thrive here because they have a sense of responsibility to work hard and stay committed to themselves,” says McNeill. “They feel safe here, away from the overwhelming traditional schools and the potential for bullying and other social issues they may intimidate someone who is shy or otherwise withdrawn.”
“I really liked the environment and quickly overcame my concerns about Cole working on his own. He used to never ask for help,” remembers Hill. “But soon I realized that he felt comfortable here being able to talk with the teachers whenever he needed assistance. He even helped some other students after he mastered all of his math units.”
The student body is growing as local parents, like Lisa, continue to realize the benefits of the unique campus. Even with increased attendance, Premier High School will always stay small by design preserving its ability to cater to students’ individual needs.
Maria and daughter Bethany Garcia
“We wanted a place that wasn’t too big and a place that she would be comfortable in,” says Maria Garcia, whose daughter came here as a freshman three years ago from a private school. “We thought it was the best option for Bethany, who excels academically and didn’t want to deal with the distractions that come with overcrowded traditional high schools.”
Teachers are on-hand for individualized instruction at all times and the shorter school day allows for flexibility for students who have a job, family activities, or other commitments. Premier High School is designed for independently-directed studies where students move through mastery units at a speed they are comfortable with.
“The teachers at Premier always had time to encourage her to pursue her passions,” continues Garcia. “Bethany is more than prepared to begin college next year and pursue a degree in English or art.”
“Every day we are steadfast in our mission to provide hope to all children,” proclaims McNeill. “It’s so fulfilling to talk to our parents about what we have done for their students and exciting to know that our success stories are being realized beyond the walls of our classrooms.”
“I think that this school will be beneficial to so many kids that may not fit in well with at traditional high schools and may not be given the opportunity to excel,” concludes Hill. “Cole was a perfect example of that and I’m so proud of him.”
“I have recommended this school to so many other parents who have younger kids,” says Garcia. “I always tell them that this school is the best option we have in the Texarkana area if you truly want your child to succeed.”
Visit www.DontWaitGraduate.com/Texarkana to learn more about Premier High School – Texarkana, stop by to tour the campus at 3448 Summerhill Road or call 430-201-0728 for more information about how to enroll.
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