HORRY CO, SC (WBTW) – The South Carolina Department of Education announced its partnership with Graduation Alliance this week.

Graduation Alliance is a national organization that aims to help at-risk students who are falling behind in school.

For weeks families of virtual students have asked for more support in distance learning. “Parents had to become teachers overnight,” said Ryan Brown, spokesperson for the department of education.

The new program will help students stay on track when learning from home. “This is really meant to target those students who are actually struggling,” said Brown.

Brown says students who are frequently absent, falling behind, and who struggle with time management skills will be considered first.

“It’s an opt-in system and I think that’s important to understand. The school actually has to opt-in to the program. Parents can sign-up as well, but it ultimately is going to go through the school because they have access to all academic records,” said Brown.

Once a school opts-in, one-on-one coaching can start.

“This is going to be support to help them develop the skills that they need to succeed in new education environment,” said Erin Luper, Graduation Alliance Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs.

Coaches will work with students on assignments, guiding lessons, and answering questions that parents may not know the answer to.

“This is not a one size fits all solution. This is very, very individualized and personalized solutions for these families,” said Luper.

State officials say 12 districts have already signed up as of Thursday and the program will cost them nothing.

“This is a program to support students and families. This is not a program that is going to cost them anything out of pocket to participate in, nor is going to cost the district,” said Luper.

Schools can sign up for the program through this link and parents can request services here.