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Oren Smith has plans for his future. The 14-year-old Premier High School student has his eye on being a doctor someday. His biggest obstacle? Traditional school classes did not give him a chance to ask the questions he needed to fully understand his coursework. Searching for an environment that allowed him to focus more on academics, he found a solution in Premier High School’s personalized program.

Currently a freshman, Oren feels like he now has control over his education.

“I felt like I was often falling behind in middle school because they were moving too fast. Here you get to move at your own pace and actually complete the material. I try to complete all of my subjects at school before the end of the day, but if I don’t finish my goal I usually take it home and then bring it back the next day,” he said.

Campus director Heather McNeill says Premier’s small class size, personalized coursework, and focus on academics helps students who need a different choice in education.

“Our school is designed to meet the needs of individual students. When they enroll, they take diagnostic tests, and then we create an academic plan for them that takes into account their strengths and areas they need to work on. Students like Oren can excel academically if they are just given the right environment and academic plan,” said Mrs. McNeill.

Premier students work individually through knowledge units based on a personalized schedule. They can speed up their pace when they understand the content, or take extra time when they need more work on a particular lesson. Students must show mastery through oral and written tests before they move on to the next unit.

When students have questions, they have teachers available to personally help them through the issues.

Dawn Neumann, Oren’s mother, says her son is more focused this year because he can set his own pace and receives the support he needs.

“It has made him feel important that someone would take the time to help him when he was having problems understanding a specific subject,” she said.

At his current pace Oren is set to graduate from high school a year early.

“After high school I plan is to go to college. I am not yet sure where, but I am hoping to graduate within the top ten in my class, get accepted into a high ranking college, and graduate with an emphasis in science and medicine,” he said.

Ms. Neuman says that beyond growing academically, Oren is building discipline and responsibility.

“He is learning to work independently and set goals daily and weekly.  These are useful things that will help him after high school,” she said.

For more information on Premier High Schools’ program contact the school by calling 430-200-4385 or stopping by the campus located at 3448 Summerhill Rd., Texarkana, TX 75503.

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