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Houston County's students are out-performing the state average, when it comes to the graduation rate by nearly six points.

About 76-percent of their students earned a diploma last year.

To get that number higher, the system is opening a new school Thursday.

Teachers at Edge Academy want to help students falling behind toget ahead.

Brian Christiansen left an assistant principals job at Houston County High School for a teaching job at Edge, housed in the Elberta Center off Elberta Road in Warner Robins.

He said, "I was always eager to get back to the classroom."

After 27 years in education, a new concept inspired him. Edge Academy gave him the opportunity.

Christiansen said, "I wanted to be part of something special for the county."

He wants to work with students who are struggling.

So does Ida Jones. She understands kids are up against the odds. In high school, she was one of them.

She said, "I was three years behind. If I had just stopped, and no one had motivated me, I probably would not have been where I am today."

Starting Thursday, both teachers will lead classes of 9th through 12th graders.

About 100 of them will start school at Edge. All of the students will be at least five graduation credits behind.

Christiansen said, "There's just a myriad of things that could affect a child's performance at school. Maybe they're homeless."

They could be recovering from illness, a family tragedy, multiple moves or behavior problems.

Jones, Christensen and two other Edge instructors will give students individual attention, along with the academic tools, to get back on track.

Most of the cirriculum will be through a web-based progam, that can be accessed by students at home and at school.

Jones said, "There's nothing better than to teach a child that's struggling and have a small input into showing that child they can be successful."

Counselors from the county's five high schools identified students who are behind, and could benefit from attending Edge Academy. They were invited, but participation is optional.

Once students catch up on their work, they can return to their normal high school.

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