High School Receives Grant for JAG Program

High School Receives Grant for JAG Program
Posted on 09/21/2018
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Last week, Governor Hutchinson and leadership from the Jobs for America’s Graduates program, Arkansas Department of Career Education, and other Arkansas business leaders presented the Hot Springs School District (HSSD) with a $25,000 Entergy grant check to fund a Jobs for Arkansas Graduates (JAG) program at Hot Springs World Class High School. JAG is an affiliate of Jobs for America’s Graduates, Inc.,  which is a national school-to-work program that focuses on project-based learning and includes Governor Hutchinson among the Board of Directors.

JAG has 125 programs in Arkansas school districts and ranks second in the nation for scholarships received by JAG students (over $10 million was received across programs last year).  With personalized skills development facilitated by JAG instructors, and interaction with local businesses and various career options through internships and service learning projects, JAG students receive a non-traditional approach to becoming career ready.

“By investing in students now, we are helping our economy tomorrow. Students in the JAG program graduate ready to enter the workforce with realistic expectations about employer requirements, and passion about how they will make a difference in society,” says Hot Springs School District Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Nehus. “Our Junior Academy JAG program has been extremely successful with 7th-8th grade students. We are excited to create a high school program so that students can continue in the program, or choose to participate during any period from 7th-12th grade.”

JAG is a data-driven initiative. School program applications are approved by an Oversight Board and receive stringent audits to ensure that schools and administrators are held accountable for the project-based curriculum and job placement services that are promised by the program. JAG is known for helping to create very high graduation rates among student participants, with 95% of JAG students receiving high school diplomas.

While JAG is new to our World Class High School, it has been successfully in place at our Junior Academy for more than two years. Under the current JAG Middle School curriculum at the HSSD Junior Academy, 42 competency areas are implemented including: studying, communications, character development, self-understanding, and more. Among various community service and school project efforts, JAG students are known for their aggressive entrepreneurial efforts as the Junior Academy JAG operates a fully operational company called Hot Springs Button Company. Students design and make buttons for various causes, and sell buttons at school events and local organizations. The Button Company effort allowed Junior Academy JAG Instructor Mrs. Stephanie Goodman to implement core competencies of the program through a creative business effort that was entirely designed by students.

HSSD is adding the JAG Multi-Year Program curriculum at the High School, which has 81 competency areas including:  job attainment and interviewing, job survival, leadership and self development, workplace responsibility, teamwork, adaptability, work ethics, complex problem solving, and more. The new program at the high school will build on the outstanding efforts of the JAG Program at the Junior Academy. Current students enrolled are a mixture of students previously enrolled in the program, and a few newcomers. Mr. Aaron Cooper will be the High School JAG facilitator.

Learn more about the nationwide JAG, Inc. program, here. Learn more about Hot Springs World Class HIgh School, here.  
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