At Rolla High School, 466 students are taking the harder way out.

These students are a part of the Missouri A+ program which has been growing since RHS was designated an A+ school in 1997.

“We are adding students every week,” Shelly Fouke, the administrative assistant of the program, said.


At Rolla High School, 466 students are taking the harder way out.
These students are a part of the Missouri A+ program which has been growing since RHS was designated an A+ school in 1997.
“We are adding students every week,” Shelly Fouke, the administrative assistant of the program, said.
The program, which began in 1993, has several goals. It is aimed at improving student performance in school and providing opportunities to continue education after high school.
“I think it is a wonderful program. It allows students to fund their higher education,” Fouke said.
Students who remain in the program are awarded a state-paid scholarship at graduation. The scholarships are designated for community colleges or vocational colleges, according to Stephanie Grisham, the director of the program.
For the 2008-2009 school year, the Missouri General Assembly appropriated $25.2 million in support of the program, according to the Missouri Department of Elementary Secondary Education.
To receive the scholarship, students have to meet six requirements throughout their high school careers.
•They must attend a A+ designated high school for three consecutive years.
•Maintain a 2.5 GPA in grades 9 to 12.
•Students need to have an attendance of 95 percent in grades 9 to 12.
•Good citizenship - avoiding illegal drug and alcohol use.
•Make a good faith effort each year to first secure all available federal financial aid.
•They must perform 50 hours of unpaid tutoring or mentoring.
Boys are also required to sign up for selective service.
The 50 hours of unpaid tutoring/mentoring is focused on schools in the district, while sometimes schools outside the district, such as St. Patrick’s, can be included, according to Fouke.
“This is a great opportunity for students to mentor students. They (the younger students) really look up to the high school students,” Fouke said.
Students also have the opportunity to do on the job shadowing, going to different professional fields that are of particular interest to them.
In addition to the scholarship and job shadowing opportunities, the program was designed to help move students out of track courses, Grisham said.
For a school to become A+ designated, they must demonstrate they are moving away from track courses, according to Grisham.
Instead of being locked into track courses, students will be able to have more flexibility in course selection, Grisham said.
However, the change was accompanied by a more rigorous curriculum, according to Grisham. Classes such as advanced placement or college prep have more emphasis now.
At the same time more basic courses such as consumer math were eliminated.
“We are trying to push them to push themselves,” Grisham said.