Premier High School in Granbury, Texas, recently made history by honoring 68 graduating seniors on Thursday, May 27 — a record number of graduates since the charter school opened its doors in February 2010.
Among the graduates in May were two older students with children.
“We had a 25-year-old graduate,” said Marsha Grissom, campus director for PHS. “She called me one day and said, ‘Am I too old to get my high school diploma?’ I said, ‘You have to finish before you turn 26. I can still help you.’ She was a remote student and she came up from South Texas, enrolled in school and got all the information she needed. Then she returned home and we handled her education remotely.
“We had another student that was with us several years ago, and I literally have badgered her. We send her texts every couple of months and say, ‘You really are so close. I really need you to come back and finish school because it's going to pay benefits for you down the road.’ I've tried to stay in contact with those kids that have dropped out for one reason or another and send them a text every couple of months or every quarter at least and say, ‘We'd love to help you.’ It's so great to be able to do that, to reengage these kids to come, and those kids have finished.”
PHS also had its first out-of-state graduate, from Oklahoma, and first international graduate, from Canada.
“We had our 500th graduate this year. To date, we have 543 students that have graduated from our school,” Grissom said.
She also said this is Premier High School’s ninth year of having 100 percent of college acceptances.
“That's part of our program that we have that we started — requiring kids to get a college acceptance letter — because we like to create a world of opportunities for our kids, and stay close, stay in touch and make sure they never for a second think that we don't care about them,” Grissom said.
This fiscal year certainly brought many firsts for PHS — one of which was the location of the school that had moved from Stonewater Church to its current location at 883 Harbor Lakes Drive on Aug. 31, 2020.
“We had started remotely because of COVID and the transition back into the building was amazing,” Grissom said. “And it's beautiful; it's very functional. We like to say we are in the palm of the hotel's hand because we're surrounded by hotels. It's a perfect location. Parents get very nervous about young drivers but there's a stoplight right there on 377, so there's a matter of just paying attention. There's an easy access into the school parking lot, and an easy access back onto 377 for the other direction, so we feel like we have the perfect location and we’ve got the perfect setup.”
PHS is designed for students who need credit recovery or who thrive in smaller, independent learning environments. Students work out of knowledge units at their own pace and are expected to complete six to seven credits in one school year in order to successfully transition to the next grade level. The school offers a student enrollment capacity of 180 and serves students in grades 9-12.
“Up until this year, we've had a capacity of 150 and our goal is to help kids graduate from high school,” Grissom said.
With seven “highly qualified” teachers and four teaching assistants, students can receive tutorials or small group instruction if needed.
Grissom said PHS teachers have hosted classes by Google Classroom, Google Chat and Zoom meetings. Teachers have even allowed their students to contact them after school hours to take a test.
"I want every student that walks in that building to be able to engage with at least one teacher. I want them to have something in common with that teacher and interest. If they're a gamer, I've got teachers that are gamers even. I want kids to be able to identify and to relate to a teacher,” Grissom said. “We've managed to foster a very positive environment for our kids, which is what it's all about. All of our teachers are capturing kids’ hearts and we exercise those things every day.”
For more information or to send in an application to Premier High School, visit responsiveed.com or call Grissom at 817-573-0435.