Apex Classroom Offers Pathway to Success

Students work in the Apex class room at the Raymond J. Fashano Technology Academy.

The Jamestown High School Technology Academy offers a unique program, Apex Learning Digital Curriculum, to help students have a chance to recover course credits they may need in addition to providing personalized learning based on students’ specific needs. The flexibility offered by Apex allows students to be successful in a non-traditional school setting. Christi Lewis runs Apex at the Raymond J. Fashano Technology Academy and Shari Shields, a retired JPS teacher of 39 years, volunteers daily helping with attendance and tutoring.

“For some students, the traditional school setting does not meet their needs,” said JHS Tech Academy Principal Tom Langworthy. “This could be due to a variety of reasons. For example, if a student has experienced trauma and has missed school, or has anxiety about being around a large group of people, Apex is an option that may be more suitable to allow them to overcome their individual challenges. The goal of Apex is graduation, so the program allows for an additional pathway toward graduation.”

It is important to have a program like Apex at JHS because some students need a non-traditional learning environment. Students with challenges find a welcome haven at Apex. From September to January this year, 100 courses were completed. The classroom offers individualized tutoring, a small classroom environment and flexible scheduling. One student summed it up best when she said, “I don’t feel like anyone’s looking at me” and therefore free to pursue her education without external issues blocking her success. The Apex classroom offers tutoring, explanations and help through a variety of subjects. Currently, the Apex classrooms has students taking Environmental Science, Health, English 9, 10, 11, 12, Government and Economics, Psychology, U.S. History, Algebra I, IA, IB, Geometry, Careers, Earth Science, Global I, Global II, Living Environment, Music Appreciation, Math of Personal Finance, Art Appreciation, Creative Writing, Spanish I and Physical Education. Many more are also available for AP courses and electives.

“It is always rewarding to have students that are on their 5th year (or more) graduate from Apex,” said Mrs. Lewis. “I have had students with two children, two jobs, and a tough home life graduate and thereby have a future and a hope. One student in particular dropped from JHS on 20 consecutive absences. I saw his name and contacted Mr. Langworthy. We were able to get him a place in Apex and now he attends regularly and is on his fourth course since enrolling in November. What a neat success story for someone who simply needed a second chance in a non-traditional setting! We also want to thank Wegmans who generously donated food to the program. McDonalds and the Northwest Ice Arena also donated rewards to give the students incentives to attend and St. Luke’s Thrift Store donated clothing, car seats and personal need items for our students.”

“Christi and Sherri are passionate about helping other,’ said Mr. Langworthy. “In addition to educational support, some of our students need the support of a trusted adult when they come to school. Christi and Shari provide guidance and mentoring to students. Christi has made arrangements with Wegmans to get food each morning for students who may be hungry, which shows how much she cares. Shari is a retired Jamestown Public Schools teacher who continues to give time and commitment to students. It is clear how much they care about students, and I think that is one of the reasons for students having success in Apex.”