Flex Lab gives high school students much-needed opportunities

Even with the closing of CHAMPS Academy, the development of a program by Sanford-Fritch High School is helping those who need it to graduate from high school.Sometime in early 2010, CHAMPS in Fritch was closed due to low funding. CHAMPS Academy was an alternative, non-traditional, high school for students of Borger, Dumas, Panhandle, Plemons-Stinnett-Phillips, Sanford-Fritch, and Sunray. Formed in 1994, CHAMPS was designed to accommodate “at-risk students” between the ages of ages 14-21, who were not successful in the traditional high school. Targeted students included recovered dropouts, pregnant/teen parents, and/or attendance problems. This school helped give a “self-paced curriculum”to help students get their high school diploma. When the school closed, Sanford-Fritch High School set up a new program for these types of students call “Flex Lab.” According to Sanford-Fritch High School principal Jason Garrison, the flex lab wasn’t very successful last year but, has seen an increase this year. He also stated this program is like CHAMPS, but in a seven period class setting so the students can be scheduled into classes. It helps upperclassmen so they can get what they need to graduate. “What I like about it is the curriculum is tough. It’s important and some kids would have never graduated without the program,” said Garrison. This year with the help of Flex Lab, five students have finished and passed the TAKS test. Overall, this program has been successful and will stay in Sanford-Fritch High School to help “at-risk students” graduate with their class.