Twilight School begins March 7

Published 6:24 pm Monday, February 28, 2011

The new Twilight School at Escambia County High School is set to begin on March 7.|File Photo

Attending school in late afternoon into the evening may not be a typical school situation, but for an expected 30 students at Escambia County High School, the opportunity is hoped to be a better chance of success in graduating.

Zickeyous Byrd, principle at ECHS, said the new Twilight School is beginning to help meet the education needs of students facing certain issues at school.

“We have conquered many battles at ECHS and I’m so proud that we have,” Byrd said. “However, it’s not time to rest. We still have some unusual circumstances at the school that need to be addressed.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Byrd said Twilight School, which will operate daily from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at ECHS, is being implemented to help meet the educational needs of students who meet certain criteria.

“Potential candidates for the Twilight School are individuals who have difficulties that inhibit their ability to be successful in a typical classroom setting,” Byrd said. “Some of those difficulties include those who have persistent behavioral problems or are having a pattern of poor attendance or tardiness. This program is also suitable for the students who are unable to attend school in the usual environment or who will or may have already missed a number of days due to pregnancy.”

Byrd said Escambia County School Superintendent Billy Hines gave approval for the program last week.

“I had this idea and met with Mr. Hines about it and he gave us the go ahead,” Byrd said. “We are planning to being the program March 7 with about 30 students.”

Byrd said the term “twilight” doesn’t necessarily refer to the time of day for the classes, but refers to the modified time and instructional circumstances necessary to accommodate student learning.

“The alternative program is designed to help the school and students in various ways,” Byrd said. “It will help the school better meet the needs of students who are having difficulty adjusting to school due to certain circumstances or controlling their behavior. It will also improve the classroom learning environment and overall school climate by removing certain students.”

With continued patterns of absence or continued behavior problems, some students become discouraged about the possibility of success in school, Byrd said.

“As a result of some circumstances, some students feel as though their only option is to drop out of school,” Byrd said. “Twilight School will provide them with an alternative. I also have students who have missed so many days of school or who have so many tardies that it makes it impossible for them to get any credit for their courses. This situation will provide them with a second chance.”

Byrd said the school also has students who are in a situation that will keep them from school for a particular number of weeks and those absences would be unexcused.

“With students who may need to be out of school for several weeks for issues like pregnancy, we wanted to find a way for them with an alternative to failing,” Byrd said.

The Twilight School will only be made available to students who meet certain criteria and who have been recommended for the program by a specially formed committee, Byrd said.

“Students must be referred to the Twilight School by a special committee,” Byrd said. “The classes will follow the same days of operation as the regular program with the exception of hours. Classes will be held from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.”

Byrd said students enrolled in the program would receive instruction in core classes including language, reading, math, science and social studies.

“This is a pilot program that we are initiating for this year,” Byrd said. “The students will be strictly enrolled in the program and not in the regular school program. Their attendance will be counted as part of the regular program attendance.”

Byrd said the program will be funded through School Improvement Federal Funding.

To learn more about the Twilight Program, contact Byrd at ECHS during regular school hours.