Culture of support & trust that focuses on learning

Path To Graduation: Alternative Success
Written and Produced By:
Christian Ackerman, Grade 12, and
Brooke White, Grade 11

In Partnership With:
High School Learning Center at Corning Community College; and
Corning- Painted Post Area School District


According to the 2015 Building A Grad Nation Report, 81% of students in the United States are graduating. However, this leaves the remaining 19% of high school students who don’t graduate. What happens to them? For some students in Corning, New York, there is such a thing as a second chance. The High School Learning Center is just that: a second chance to be successful in high school.

An entirely different atmosphere, different methods of learning

Path To Graduation: Journey To Success
Written and Produced By:
Corey Hoover, Grade 12, Class of 2016; and
Joey Usma, Graduate, Class of October 2015

In Partnership With:
High School Learning Center at Corning Community College; and
Corning- Painted Post Area School District

The national high school graduation rate is 81% according to the 2015 Building a Grad Nation Report. In New York State, the average graduation rate is lower at 77%. One way to increase the number of students who successfully reach graduation is through alternative high schools. Alternative high schools are an educational option that allow students to work in an entirely different atmosphere, with different methods of learning. “The regular high school is different because the teachers there, they just want the students to pass, they want them to get A’s on their tests,” explains Joey.

After the incident, I had a hard time focusing at school

Path To Graduation: Harassment in High School
Written and Produced By:
Faith Sutton, Grade 11, Class of 2016; and
Ryan VanAmburg, Graduate, Class of October 2015

In Partnership With:
High School Learning Center at Corning Community College; and
Corning- Painted Post Area School District


Sexual harassment at school is more common than most people realize. Nearly half of high schoolers in a 2011 study experienced it in a single year. And female students are much more likely to be the victims of harassment. In a school setting with large classes, it’s easy for this kind of thing to go unnoticed. “With the larger schools, I think a lot of things are under the radar and most people can’t really catch onto it,” explains Faith. “Unless it’s too late or there’s a lot of people involved, rather than just one person.

Supporting students on the autism spectrum to reach graduation

Path To Graduation: Teaching Students on the Autism Spectrum
Written and Produced By:
Jordan Phillippe, Grade 10, Oneonta High School

Students on the autism spectrum face challenges in school. They often learn differently than others. Joseph Yelich is superintendent of the Oneonta City School District in Upstate New York. Mr. Yelich describes how he makes sure, as a superintendent, students on the autism spectrum in public schools get the education they need. “We have a strong evaluation program and very well trained professionals inside of classrooms and out,” says Yelich.

'I’m going to get a diploma, one way or another!'

Path To Graduation: Future Plans
Written and Produced By:
Merissa Butler, Graduate, Class of October 2015; and Skyler Callahan-Miller, Grade 12, Class of 2016

In Partnership With:
High School Learning Center at Corning Community College; and Corning-Painted Post Area School District

Skyler Callahan-Miller had a problem with traditional high school. “I had a lot of problems with attendance. I’d either have work or just say, forget about it, and not even go to school. [I had] attendance issues due to getting a ride or catching the bus or having to work early in the morning,” confessed Skyler. “And I also had a bunch of study halls that didn’t really help me at all.

My parents opted me out

Path To Graduation: Testing
Written & Produced By Nathan Schwed, Grade 8, Oneonta Middle School

With 22% of students in New York State not finishing high school in 2014, is now a good time to start testing against new standards? I asked two community leaders their thoughts on Common Core standards. Senator James Seward represents the Oneonta-area in the New York State Senate. I asked Senator Seward his opinion. “Well, I have some grave concerns about the Common Core, in particular, the way it has been rolled out here in New York State,” says Seward.

I know mentoring works

Path To Graduation: Mentors
Written & Produced By Kieran Jennings, Grade 8, Schenevus Central School District

Did you know? Researchers at the World Bank identified mentoring as one of the most promising approaches to serve at-risk children around the world. I know mentoring works because I have mentors myself, like teachers and aides, who help me stay organized, make good choices, and work hard even if I don’t feel like it. “One of the really important things that good teachers understand is that their relationship with a student is what’s going to make the difference for that student in terms of success,” says Thomas Jennings, superintendent of the Schenevus Central School District in Upstate New York. Mr. Jennings thinks that all students could benefit from positive time with adults in school.

Literacy is the key to success

Path To Graduation: Literacy
Written & Produced By Caroline Carter, Grade 10, Oneonta High School

You might not think about it, but you use literacy skills all day long. When you are checking your texts, reading your emails, reading road signs, filling out forms, reading food labels, and taking tests… To do all of those things, you use literacy skills. But did you know, that according to a 2014 survey, 1 in 7 adults in the United States cannot read? “Literacy really is the foundation for educational success,” explains principal Thomas Brindley. “I believe it’s the foundation for success in life in general.” Mr. Brindley is principal of Oneonta High School.

Alice | Best Scenic Design 2015

This film received the Judge’s Choice honor for ‘Best Scenic Design’ in the 2015 Rod Serling Film Festival.  ‘Alice’ is the creation of Erica Hutchison, a student who attends Athens Area High School. She says, “I wanted my project to be a twisted version of Alice in Wonderland. I wanted to do something based on what I love: special effects makeup, and the illusion of something darker and different to capture my audience’s attention.” Mission accomplished, Erica!