Grenada School District has made dropout prevention a major focus in recent years by implementing several initiatives targeting at-risk students from the elementary school through the high school. Grenada School District was awarded a 21st Century Grant to implement an after school program to assist in decreasing the dropout rate at Grenada High School. This grant initiative weaves pieces of academics, workplace relevance, and technology skills together to create an environment to motivate students to stay in school. “We are pleased with the participation in our after school classes and our summer program that provide unique opportunities for our students,” says Project Coordinator Lynne Russell. “The 21st Century Grant provides a venue for students to be motivated to stay in school and to be prepared for today’s workforce.”
The 21st Century activities assist students in achieving success in passing the state mandated subject area tests required for graduation. Activities are centered upon the merging of academic core objectives into real-life career classes. This organization of skills enhances the connections between school and work. Pottery Instructor Melissa Taylor states, “These classes are designed to make learning more relevant for our students. Academic objectives are infused into a workplace environment to enable students to connect the importance of education to applications on the job.” Career-oriented classes include Podcasting, Photoshop, Building Trades, Urban Agriculture/Archery, Auto Mechanics/Welding, Ceramics, and Culinary Arts.
In addition to offering these career-oriented classes, student tutoring, teacher training, as well as parent workshops, are being implemented to enhance the connections between school and work. Parenting classes/workshops provide information and instruction for family members in parenting and technology skills. After school tutoring at Grenada High School is being offered in major subjects in small group settings for students requiring additional academic assistance.
High Hopes partners and community members have been offered the opportunity to participate in the grant initiatives. Community members have been recruited to visit the classes and share real-life experiences with the student participants. Community partners were also requested to provide incentives for the students for the completion of objectives and for class attendance. The partners of our adopt-a-school organization have been enthusiastic about the receipt of the 21st Century Grant and welcomed the opportunity to assist our students in connecting the educational environment with the workplace.
Superintendent Dr. David Daigneault states, “ The 21st Century initiative has addressed four goals in improving student achievement. These include:
1. Decrease the drop-out rate
2. Increase student motivation
3. Expand participation in adult education services to enable parents to enhance and support their children’s education
4. Encourage infusion of learning objectives into real-life situations.
The 21st Century Grant is administered by the Mississippi Department of Education. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program (CCLC) was established by Congress as Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The purpose of the 21st CCLC Program is to create community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities for children and their families.
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