Henderson, Nev. The Clark County School District is about to gain a powerful new tool in helping kids succeed in life, thanks to a new partnership with Nevada State College called Crossroads.
Beginning Feb. 20, 80 selected at-risk 8th grade students in 13 middle schools throughout the Southeast region of the valley will participate in the Crossroads program, which helps young people, identified by their counselors as being at extremely high risk of dropping out of school.
The brainchild of Dr. Rene Cantu, vice president of Multicultural Affairs at Nevada State College, the program is designed to re-engage students in seeing the value both in their education, as well as a high school diploma, before it’s too late.
Although many students don’t officially drop out of school until high school, the student’s disengagement with their schoolwork can almost always be traced back to an earlier age, Cantu said. If the problem isn’t addressed prior to attending high school, those students will almost surely be overwhelmed once they enter high school and are very likely to give up and drop out. That’s why we chose to target the 8th grade.
And the Clark County School District has been eagerly onboard since.
“Dr. Cantu came to one of our middle school principals’ meetings and presented his idea of partnering with middle schools to see if there wasn’t something that Nevada State College couldn’t do to help our struggling students, CCSD Southeast Region Assistant Superintendent Dr. Patrice Johnson said. Our principals were so excited about the Crossroads Program and endorsed the program right away. It is extremely evident that our principals in the Southeast Region are absolutely willing to do whatever it takes to help our students succeed at every level.
Over the course of four months, each of the selected youth will receive mentoring, tutoring and motivation training to help them recover from their current academic path and be able to successfully graduate from high school. Students are selected for the program if they had been retained in the eighth grade the previous year.
The process will come in the form of one-on-one, once-a-month mentorship provided by trained college students from Nevada State College, involvement of the school counselor who identified the student as being at-risk and participation in the Success Highways program, a national program that will be administered by college personnel and has been shown to effectively increase the GPAs of at-risk students. Through the Success Highways aspect of Crossroads, students will learn non-academic skills such as time and stress management and will focus on skills such as motivation, resiliency, and self-esteem and decision-making tactics.
Students will be paired with Peer Mentors, volunteer students from Nevada State College, who will provide young people with positive role models who have stayed in school and are now fully engaged in college.
Funding for the program has come from Randy Garcia, founder and CEO of the Investment Counsel Company, an investment management consulting firm.
A resident of Las Vegas since 1957, Garcia is invested in the community and has sponsored several enrichment programs for at-risk youth through the Clark County School District and the Nevada System of Higher Education. He also serves on the board of directors for several community organizations including, the Nevada Community Foundation, Scoutreach Program for the Las Vegas Area Council of the Boy Scouts and the Council for a Better Nevada.
Nevada State College opened its doors to students in September 2002 after the Nevada Board of Regents and Nevada State Legislature determined the need for enhanced educational opportunities in Southern Nevada in 1997. The college currently enrolls more than 2,050 students.
Nevada State College provides progressive bachelors programs in several in-demand fields of study. Nevada State College offers a low student-to-professor ratio and competitive tuition rates.