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Lancaster ISD brings grant-funded, award-winning Pitsco program to LHS students



Contact: Sonya Cole-Hamilton "Excellence Every Day…No Alibis, No Excuses"

Office: 972-218-1433 Cell: 972-358-7227

Friday, May 16, 2014

Lancaster ISD brings grant-funded, award-winning Pitsco program  to LHS students

Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster ISD

A Texas Workforce Commission grant is bringing the Star Academy program for dropout prevention and acceleration to Lancaster High School for the 2014-2015 school year. The program’s primary goal is to help overage and at-risk students reconnect with education and eventually earn a high school diploma.

Based on research of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, the combination of courses in the accelerated program at both locations will include Algebra 1A, Algebra 1B, integrated physics and chemistry, biology, reading, English, and world history. In addition, each district will provide elective courses to round out students’ schedules.

"I’m really excited about the Star Academy and the Pitsco Instructional model. It’s a breakaway from the traditional industrial model and we know that such a model doesn’t work for our 21st Century learners," Lancaster ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael D. McFarland said. "This lab is a model that is conducive to multiple learning styles, and many times, our at-risk students need such support. This lab is another vehicle that fits within the comprehensive plan for our district."

The Star Academy program is effective at reengaging students through a rigorous progression of instruction that incorporates hands-on learning, individualized instruction, collaborative learning, team-based instruction, and real-world career connections. "I have seen the transformational power of the Pitsco instructional model and its effect on student engagement," Dr. McFarland said. "A lack of engagement can cause students to fall behind or drop out, and this academy will help us ensure that our at-risk students graduate with a high school diploma and are reengaged."

Students in the Star Academy program achieve academic success, develop leadership and communication skills, and ultimately experience a positive change in attitude toward themselves and their future. The expected outcomes of participating in the program are accelerating two grade levels (eighth and ninth grades) in one school year and improving attendance habits and behavior. Financial benefits are realized when students graduate instead of dropping out of school. On average, a dropout earns $7,852 less and pays $3,666 less in income-related taxes than a graduate each year. Learn more about the Star Academy Program at

The Lancaster Public Schools serve more than 6,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in 11 schools. The mission of the Lancaster Independent School District, a leader in providing innovative, quality programs, is to educate every student with the knowledge; skills; and principles to succeed and contribute in a competitive and technologically advancing world by providing rigorous and engaging learning opportunities that promote diversity; create an environment of integrity and respect; and establish a commitment to continued improvement in partnership with families and community.


422 S. Centre Ave. Lancaster, TX 75146 ~ 972.218.1400 ~