Oklahoma City high school students catch up with night courses

More students at Oklahoma City's Douglass High School are on track to graduate now that the district has implemented emergency procedures to get students caught up in coursework.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: January 23, 2013

Angelo Jones has a clear reason for graduating from high school.

“My grandma,” he said. “My grandma wants me to graduate.”

So when he found out he was missing the credits he needed to graduate from Douglass High School, giving up wasn't an option.

“I've got to get up and do what I've got to do,” the high school senior said. “That's your future.”

Jones is part of a student body that found out last fall that years of academic mismanagement has led to gaps in their transcripts and unnecessary coursework. For some, graduation is in doubt.

The former principal resigned. A new administration team is in place. Starting this semester, a group of students are taking evening classes after the rest of the student body is long gone.

Jones is taking a technology class.

“Things like that happen sometimes,” he said. “That's just life.”

Students stay motivated

Long shadows cross the Douglass High School courtyard. The school day has been over for a few hours, but some students are still in class.

More than 30 juniors and seniors are enrolled in nine courses, interim Principal Barbara Davis said. Class sizes range from one to seven students.

Students are given afternoon snacks donated by Sonic and McDonald's.

They're given encouragement from teachers and staff. Motivation cannot waiver, Davis said.

“This is only for a moment,” Davis said. “Once you get finished with this moment, you'll understand why your high school diploma is so important.”

In addition to night school, students took classes during winter break. More will stay in school during spring break.

Christian Gray, a senior, said he doesn't mind going to night school. He is taking the second semester of state history. He wants to study physical therapy at the University of Central Oklahoma this fall.