Academic Services—Middle School, High School and Postsecondary
Academic Services works with middle and high schools to support academic achievement, high school graduation, college enrollment and college graduation. An initiative called Investing in Innovation (i3) encourages increased enrollment in Advanced Placement classes so students will be better prepared academically for college. The program provides teachers with Advanced Placement training and students with encouragement and support to complete the classes. Through individual interventions as well as a Youth Working Group and collaboration with other Promise Neighborhood initiatives, this staff strives for these results:
- Students are proficient in core academic subjects
- Students successfully transition from middle school grades to high school
- Youth graduate from high school
- High school graduates obtain a postsecondary degree, certification or credential
- Students are healthy
- Students live in stable communities
- Students have access to 21st century learning tools
Students plant to restore
The American Chestnut trees thrived in Appalachia until the turn of the century when a blight caused most of them to die out. Owsley County High School agriculture students and members of the Youth Working Group worked together this spring to participate in the Chestnut Tree Restoration Project. Students planted 11 saplings that have been cross bread with Chinese Chestnut trees that have proven blight resistant. They have been altered to be mostly American Chestnut and about five percent Chinese Chestnut. Students in Owsley County hope the planting is a step in the right direction to repopulating eastern Kentucky with the American Chestnut trees.
Academic Specialists encourage career exploration
High school students don’t want work to be drudgery; they’re looking for careers that will be fun. Two recent field trips helped students from Jackson and Clay Counties to identify such careers in construction and in car manufacturing. In Jackson County, Promise Neighborhood’s Jeremy McQueen and Julia Sparks, of the Jackson County High School Youth Service Center, collaborated on a career exploration visit to Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown. Twenty-eight students from the Jackson County Area Technology Center participated, along with two JCHS instructors. All tour participants inspected Toyota “show room” cars before the detailed tram tour of the manufacturing plant. One student demonstrated what a positive day it was by saying: “This is the coolest place I’ve ever seen…I’d like to work here one day.”
Jackson and Clay County students who participated in the Construction Fair in Shelbyville had similar reactions. : “There were more things that I could do [well] that I didn’t know I could do, but I guess it’s ’cause I had fun. That is something that I think everyone needs. A job that they enjoy and love,” said Lucas Stephens. Due to the efforts of Kentucky Construction Career Choice Council and their sponsors, 80 students Clay County students tried various construction job, such as driving a backhoe and strapping on a harness to go into a sewer simulation. They built tool boxes, rode Segway’s and talked with industry recruiters. Everyone walked away with their hard hats covered in stickers from exhibitors and dust from the day’s work. They also left with clearer ideas of the ‘fun’ careers that the world holds for them.
Career Circus offers career exploration fun
“Vision without action is only a dream, but students have learned vision plus action equals success.” Candice York, Promise Neighborhood Academic Specialist, said that with confidence after this summer’s Career Circus. York worked with Save the Children’s Jackson County Summer Boost program to connect the vision and action as students investigated what they might like to do with their futures. “Students have explored a vision of what they might enjoy doing when they grow up and discussed how they can add energy or take action to achieve that vision,” York says. They did this by participating in career-related activities, such as a visit with Jackson County service providers who represented several career clusters. A Volunteer Firefighter, Constable, County Police Officer, KY State Police Officer, PRTC representatives, Game Warden, and EMS converged on the vocational school parking lot one afternoon so the students could not only learn about the careers, but could also hear the sirens, climb aboard the ambulance, hold heavy work belts and test out the handcuffs. York then worked with small groups of students to talk about the Career Clusters from which they’ll be able to choose later in their school careers. It’s never too early for these students to begin connecting the hard work they do in school with the job they dream of growing into.