Helping every student across the finish line

National Dropout Prevention Month is celebrated annually during October, and Dallas ISD is spreading awareness about the six credit recovery and acceleration programs in place across secondary campuses to help all students succeed. 

“Dallas ISD is with students every step of the way,” said Marcus Scott, manager of Dallas ISD’s Graduation, Recovery, Attendance/Advocacy and Dropout Intervention (GRA2D) Department. “It doesn’t matter where they are on their journey to obtain their high school diploma. We are taking the negative stigmatization off of on-time graduation and celebrating spring, fall and summer graduations. That speaks volumes because if they don’t make it for this one, they can still make it for the next one.” 

All of the district’s credit recovery and acceleration programs are self-paced, as students can access the curriculum anywhere they have an internet connection. They include: 

  • Reconnection Centers: Each comprehensive high school has a Reconnection Center, where students who are no more than four credits behind can come for a class period to work on recovering or accelerating credits.
  • Freshman On-Track Initiative: This program targets second-year ninth grade students and helps put them back on track with their classification and on-time graduation by utilizing the Reconnection Centers for one or two class periods. 
  • Reconnection Plus Program: High school students who are significantly deficient with credit—for example, a student who has been in high school for three years and is still classified as a ninth grader—may qualify for a full day or half day schedule in the Reconnection Center to get the support they need. 
  • Evening Academy: High school students who do not have room in their schedule or who do not want to disrupt their schedule can supplement their learning by coming to the Evening Academy three days a week. 
  • Phoenix 2.0: This accelerated graduation plan allows high school-aged middle school students to progress in their eighth-grade core classes while simultaneously earning industry certifications and high school credits. The goal is to empower these students to graduate from high school in three years.
  • Grad Lab: While the approval process for this program is ongoing, it will enable students who are not in school for whatever reason, but who still want to earn their high school diploma, to attend night classes from 5-9 p.m. There, they will work on the courses that are required for them to earn their high school diploma, as identified by their counselors.

These programs are making a tangible difference in transforming student lives. Between the Reconnection Centers and the Reconnection Plus Program alone, Scott said they saw more than 6,000 students complete over 16,000 courses last year. Meanwhile the Freshman On-Track Initiative had 700 participants at five high schools with over 1,000 course completions and is expanding districtwide this year. 

“We are here for our students, come what may,” Scott said. “We are encouraging staff and families across the district to champion our students, even for one success. Celebrate every step forward, and help us take all negative stigmas off our students. If they need additional support, refer them to their school counselor, and we will take care of the rest.” 

Leslie Swann, director of the GRA2D Department, said another one of their goals is to spread awareness about these “second chance” credit recovery and acceleration programs in Dallas ISD. 

“We are not asking families or staff to know the intricacies of each program; we just want them to be ambassadors for this work,” Swann said. “The district’s mission is to educate all students for success, and we can all help advance that mission by knowing what’s available.” 

To learn more about Dallas ISD’s GRA2D Department and all the programs it has to offer, visit To determine the best program fit for a student you know who needs support, contact their campus counselor. 

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