SuccessLink FAQs


What is SuccessLink?

SuccessLink is online education, but better. Local community-based (right here in Kent ISD), SuccessLink features real teachers, proven curriculum and interesting coursework. But the classes are just the start.

You provide the structure, requirements and advantages of your organization's program. We provide a way for students to complete high school. Together, we provide a pathway to success for the youth you work with.

How is this different from traditional school?
It's very different! SuccessLink is a combination of interesting, new ways of learning. This includes online instruction, online projects, coursework and discussion boards, plus a laptop with wireless card for learning anywhere. Students experience just-in-time learning, tutoring, and the support they need to overcome barriers to learning.

This approach allows students to work at their own pace (both fast and slow) and fit classes around any schedule, so they can learn when and where they choose - wherever a laptop goes. This means students can get caught up on credits, hold a job, help with family responsibilities, and even take college classes.

How do you support students?
We have a Student Support System of at least three caring adults, all working to help students succeed.

Our Personal Online Instructors are experienced online educational leaders who supplement the online content, do additional teaching, lead discussion boards and learning activities, and join our Success Coaches to provide the kind of support at-risk students need. Success coaches may be actual or virtual, but reach out to students several times each week to help with homework or find solutions to problems that keep them from making academic progress. These caring adults are all teachers - Michigan certified teachers - who will get to know your clients and help them succeed in this new hybrid school.

Students also need face-to-face interaction for encouragement and additional help. This component is an important part of the SuccessLink program. If there are enough students enrolled from your organization, we can send a Face-to-Face (F2F) teacher to your location. Students may also be able to come to one of our community locations or may receive this interaction within your program from your program staff. We will work with you to determine how best to provide this in-person assistance.

SuccessLink's Student Support System

Personal Online Instructor

  • Highly-qualified and Michigan certified
  • Looking at whole student and his/her total learning experience throughout course
  • Help with additional explanation, tutoring and assistance with homework and projects
  • Available during and after school hours in collaboration with F2F Teacher
  • Grades and tracks student work in collaboration with F2F Teacher
  • Offers support, feedback and monitors progress

Face- to-Face Teacher (when provided by SuccessLink & Kent ISD)

  • Highly-qualified and Michigan certified
  • Meets twice (or more) per week at a community location with students (F2F)
  • Looking at whole student and his/her total learning experience throughout course
  • Help with additional explanation, just-in-time teaching, tutoring and assistance with homework and projects
  • Available during and after school hours in collaboration with Personal Online Instructor
  • Grades and tracks student work in collaboration with Personal Online Instructor
  • Offers feedback and monitors progress

Please note: this component may be provided by your organization instead of ours, depending on the circumstances. For more information, please contact us.

Success Coach

  • Highly-qualified and Michigan certified
  • Tracks/monitors student work to make sure student progresses through course
  • Coordinates efforts with Personal Online Instructor and F2F Teacher
  • Communicates several times each week with the student
  • Provides referrals, helps students overcome barriers to progress
  • Helps with homework and offers feedback

How much does SuccessLink cost?
$0. There is no charge for this public program. Funding comes from Kent ISD and contributions from the local school districts. Both costs and contributions depend on the number of students participating, with a portion of the state's per-pupil grant helping to support each participating student.

Who oversees this program?
As a part of Kent ISD, SuccessLink is organized by our administrators, operated by our staff and governed by the Kent ISD School Board. The original vision and planning for the new school came from the Superintendents of our local districts through their Secondary Re-design Committee. Bill Smith, our Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services, is the administrator managing this project under the direction of Superintendent Kevin Konarska.

Does this school follow the traditional school calendar?
Yes, SuccessLink follows a September through June time frame, although students can start or finish classes at any time during the school year.

Does the school accept students from every year of high school?
Yes, any student in grades 9-12, age 19 and younger. Michigan school code states that general education students must be no older than age 19 on September 1 of the school year if they are to be counted as a student by a school. Students who are 19 may take classes and complete the school year. This new school offers students a way to catch up on credits and potentially earn a local diploma.

Do students have to be currently enrolled in high school?
No. As long as students are high school age (age 19 and younger by September 1 of this school year) or in grades 9-12, students can be enrolled. To succeed with the entire high school curriculum, though, students need to be able to work at a high school level. Academic support in several forms is available for students. (See next section on Curriculum.)

Curriculum Info

Where is the curriculum from?
Our classes are created or vetted by respected institutions and foundations, primarily from open educational sources. These include ground-breaking institutions such as:

  • the National Repository for Online Content (supported by the Hewlett and Gates foundations)
  • HippoCampus
  • Florida Virtual High School
  • Montana Digital Academy
  • Open High School Utah

Multiple content sources provide a wide variety of high quality online classes to meet the needs of students in grades 9-12. The classes we've selected offer students top-quality content, engaging instruction and effective design, all from trusted resources.

All of our classes (about 50 so far) have been reviewed by Kent ISD staff and core classes aligned to the Michigan Merit Curriculum, Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. This process provides students with up-to-date, relevant classes to help them earn a local diploma and qualify for careers or post-secondary study.

Assessments are selected in a similar way. Students will have both formative and summative assessments and multiple ways to demonstrate concept/standard mastery. Only the concepts students miss will require additional work.

What kinds of classes are available?
About 50 different ones, with more added each semester. You will find all the core classes needed for graduation - English, Math, Social Studies and Science - and some with multiple options. We also offer a variety of elective classes that will enrich your understanding of core concepts, help you pursue your interests and meet additional state requirements.

List of classes

How do students learn to navigate this new online classroom?
All students participate in a required Online Orientation, which is a little like a driving lesson. You learn where things are in the learning system, how to communicate with your teachers and on the discussion boards, and how to turn in your projects and other schoolwork.

What help is available for struggling students?
To succeed with all the classes required for the high school diploma, students need to work at a high school level, but we can help those whose skills fall below that in a couple of ways. Students whose skills are pre-high school can take our Foundations classes to help them get started achieving, and build up to high school proficiency. Students who need help with reading level can get reading support in many of the core classes, which are structured with content for lower reading comprehension, vocabulary building activities and features like "read aloud." We can also offer additional support for students with an IEP. Contact us for more information.

Enrollment

How do we get students enrolled?
Agencies, social service organizations and school districts can enroll students. The process begins with an online form, gathering existing academic records and reviewing what credits are still needed and which classes the student is interested in. Click here for the form.

Can students be enrolled at any time throughout the year?
Yes, students can get started earning course credit anytime during the school year. And classes can be taken just one at a time or in multiples, whichever best meets student needs.

How do I get more information?
Just contact us. We'll be happy to provide answers to your questions. You can email us at infoSuccessLink@kentisd.org , or call 616.447.5680.

Technology & Web Access

What if I don't have a computer at home?
SuccessLink provides a laptop for each student to use in the program.

What about internet access at home?
SuccessLink can help with web access too. Students without high-speed access receive a broadband wireless card.

What happens if a student has a problem accessing programs or with the laptop?
SuccessLink provides local technical support with our own Kent ISD computer techs. They can help diagnose and fix almost any computer or connection problems. They can even fix a broken laptop.