GALT — Galt High School staff will be recognized this summer for their new Career Choices program, being developed in a way that will dramatically lower the student dropout rate while preparing students for a self-sufficient adulthood, according to district staff.

The new Get Focused, Stay Focused program is a freshmen elective that the high school launched this school year after principal Kellie Beck was introduced to it at a conference, according to teacher Carli Walden

The curriculum was originally written as a college freshmen course, but the feedback the creators got encouraged them to develop a high school version. Galt High was randomly selected as an evaluation school to assess the curriculum at the high school level, she said.

The idea is that students will develop a 10-year action plan complete with their future financial/budget goals, the careers that will allow them to reach those goals and the skills they need to develop in order for them to become competitive candidates in the field of their choice, Walden said.

“Ideally, this allows students to draw the connection between their future career goals, and their high school classes to increase overall motivation and academic performance.”

The creator’s goal is also to boost graduation rates. According to state figures released last week, Galt Joint Union High School District saw a drastic improvement from the number of students who started in their freshmen years and graduated four years later, from 91.7 percent in 2015 to 96.1 percent last year.

Specifically, Galt High saw an increase from 97.5 percent to 99 percent in 2016.

With the new program, Walden and Beck set the goal to reach medal status before the year started, and Walden praised fellow teachers Jason Lopez, Donna Hartje and Donald Phenix for obtaining it.

“We've all worked so well as a team, and when we found out about the recognition, we couldn't have been more proud of our achievements, and the hard work of our students,” Walden said.

The school’s program will be recognized by Academic Innovations at is annual national conference Focus on Freshmen 2017 in July in Los Angeles.

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