Giving Compass' Take:

• This story from Getting Smart investigates a successful, student-driven pilot program which presents options for re-engaging "Academic Emergency kids."

• How can education advocates replicate the success of this program elsewhere? What assumptions about education does this story upend?

• To learn about using data to uncover the keys to student success, click here.


When students in Columbus City Schools are suspended or expelled they have the opportunity to enroll in Options for Success (OFS). This gives students the choice to avoid missing out on valuable learning, whether they’re there for a few days or several months. When Dr. Danielle E. Bomar became Principal of OFS in 2016 she was determined not just to fix her student’s grades, but their understanding of why their education is important. Doing that started with asking a simple question of both her teachers and her students: Why are we going to school?

”A lot of students these days want to know why,” said Danielle. “It’s not enough to tell them ‘you have to learn this because I’m your teacher and I said so’. They want to know how they’re going to apply what they’re learning.” For Dr. Bomar, “getting students re-engaged in school isn’t just about boosting test scores. It’s about keeping these students from becoming statistics.” According to research from UCLA, even one expulsion can almost double a student’s chances of never graduating high school.

When I met Dr. Bomar, it was clear she was looking for something for the Kylin’s in her school. When she visited my entrepreneurship class and had a chance to see my methods in action, she knew her students needed the same experience. She was eager to move away from “drill and kill” style instruction towards something more student-driven. Together, we decided to do a pilot with a small group of students, a cohort which included Kylin.

Read the full article about Options for Success by Doris Korda at Getting Smart