Katy ISD trustees pass proposed schedule for Simon Youth Academy

The Katy ISD Board of Trustees approved a plan for the Simon Youth Academy's schedule for this school year at their regular meeting Monday night.

The Katy ISD Board of Trustees approved a plan for the Simon Youth Academy's schedule for this school year at their regular meeting Monday night.

The Katy ISD board of trustees unanimously passed a measure to seek state approval for the district’s Simon Youth Academy’s optional flexible school day program on Sept. 24. The program serves students who are at risk of dropping out because of personal challenges such as attendance barriers, Simon Youth Academy Coordinator Heather Devries said at a Sept. 17 work study meeting.

“Our primary goal at the Simon Youth Academy at Katy Mills is in line with the [Optional Flexible School Day Program] because we are truly recovering students who have dropped out or stopped attending from [each] of our high schools in KISD,” Devries said.

The proposed schedule will now be submitted to the Texas Education Agency for approval under the Optional Flexible School Day Program.

The program offers three blocks of instruction that are four hours long, and staff work with students to help them overcome barriers to attendance, such as transportation, child care concerns, and anxiety or depression, Devries said. As of Sept. 17 the total enrollment in the program was 80 students, but Devries said that will grow throughout the year.

“We are literally talking to students and enrolling students on a daily basis,” Devries said.

Area resident Robert Willeby spoke at the meeting on Tuesday and said he supported the program and felt that it allowed children in difficult circumstances to succeed.

“They’re not going to stop their high school career; they get to feel good about themselves, but more importantly, it’s a program that allows them to work at their pace and under their circumstances, and that’s a good thing,” Willeby said.