Metro Nashville Public Schools leaders are using a million-dollar plan to put a big dent in Nashville's high school drop-out rate.
A unique school is designed to help struggling students get back on track.
Ninth grade is a critical year for many students. It's when the highest number of students fall behind or drop out.
"Statistically, we know that it's devastating for students to go to ninth grade and not be able to pass," said schools director Dr. Jesse Register.
Register said there are roughly 800 students in Nashville falling into a gap. They're eighth graders who are older than their peers, but not yet ready for high school.
That is why Register plans to create what he is calling a "bridge school."
"To find those students, predictably, that are not going to be successful in high school and give them a special experience," he said.
The district would pinpoint struggling students in grades eight through 10, get them help to catch up to their peers and eventually transition them into a traditional high school.
Register said it will significantly knock down the city's drop-out rate.
"It's going to have a curriculum that's tailor-made for students to help them get into high school and be successful, and we're going to recruit teachers who want to be in that school and want to help those students be successful," Register said.
The plan is to house the bridge school at what is now the Cohn Adult Learning Center near Sylvan Park.
School officials plan to have about 200 students next year.
The bridge school would cost just more than $1 million, but Register said it will be money well-spent to get hundreds of students back on track.
The program is part of Metro Schools' budget for next year, so it still has to be approved by the Metro Council.
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