Preparing Students for Successful Futures
June 2021
JAG-K Helps Students Succeed Despite Pandemic
Schools across Kansas and the country have held graduation ceremonies over the past few weeks, concluding possibly the strangest and most challenging 14 months in the history of American public education.
Teachers and administrators have worked to adapt to virtual learning, to keep students engaged, and to meet the many social/emotional needs that resulted from the pandemic.
Unfortunately, schools are seeing some pretty sobering reports on academic achievement, attendance, graduation, and grade completion. The numbers are showing that the U.S. will have to deal with a pandemic of dropouts. They have been forced to list as “unable to contact” or “unaccounted for” thousands of students, many of whom were of graduation age this spring.
I am pleased to report that amid the largest surge of dropouts in U.S. history, JAG-K kept students engaged, on track to graduate, and on the path to success.
JAG-K’s graduation rate for 2020 was 97%, a remarkable number when you consider the dropout rate most schools experienced during the pandemic. We expect that when graduation numbers for the current school year are final, we will see a similarly high rate of success for the class of 2021. (Pictured above are JAG-K students who recently graduated from Field Kindley High School in Coffeyville.)
JAG-K staff worked tirelessly to keep in touch with its students, and to help them overcome whatever obstacles might have prohibited them from succeeding at school during the pandemic. JAG-K programs statewide reported an astoundingly low 3.9% “unable to contact” rate in March of 2021.
How did JAG-K do it?
Fortunately, the multi-year, in-school program for students in grades 7-12 was positioned to respond to the closure of schools and the switch to virtual about as well as could be achieved. Each program is directed by a trained Career Specialist who helps students overcome barriers through a variety of learning strategies, including project-based learning and remote learning tools. Our program is designed to work effectively both inside and outside the traditional classroom.
Specifically, JAG-K Career Specialists:
  • Checked frequently on students’ well-being – did they have their basic needs met, were they coping with the emotional effects of the shutdown?
  • Took inventory of the tools at the students’ disposal – did they have their school books, access to computer with internet, ability to receive messages from teachers, etc.?
  • Communicated resources available to them and their families – financial relief, food donations, mental/emotional counseling, etc.
  • Ensured that all students, including seniors, were meeting the requirements to successfully complete the school year.
Participants in the JAG-K program face various barriers to success. Without additional assistance, many of these students may lack the resources and support to graduate high school, or to transition into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce with marketable skills. Faced with such barriers, missing the structure and daily encouragement they find at school could have been particularly challenging to them.
But as the numbers come in, it is apparent that JAG-K was up to the task of helping students navigate the pandemic.
Despite all the obstacles, I am proud of our JAG-K team for demonstrating resilience and the effectiveness of the evidence-based JAG model. The model has worked for 40 years, throughout the country, and now it has proven its success in helping students navigate a pandemic.

Thank you for all you do in support of JAG-K!

Chuck Knapp, President/CEO
Jobs for America's Graduates-Kansas

Gov. Kelly Joins in Governors' Discussion of JAG
JAG President Ken Smith hosted the organization's first-ever Virtual Governors’ Press Conference on May 11, featuring Gov. Laura Kelly (D-KS), Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) , Gov. Steve Sisolak (D-NV), Gov. Pete Ricketts (R-NE), and Missouri First Lady Teresa Parson.

Kelly is a member of the JAG National Board of Directors.

National School Board Association Publishes Lessons Learned by JAG-K During Pandemic

Meeting the Serious Challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic...

One year on from the outbreak of COVID-19, schools, students, and families all over the nation continue to face a wide range of issues due to the pandemic's continuing impacts on every aspect of education.

Read more
Knapp Discusses Graduation on Radio Program
JAG-K President/CEO Chuck Knapp discussed graduation rates on the Danielle Norwood Show on AM 580 WIBW Radio on May 17.

Click the following link, then click on the May 17 show and fast forward about 24 minutes to hear the conversation:

Wichita Community Leaders Participate in
Mock Interviews

Ten community leaders met recently with Wichita Heights JAG-K students for mock interviews.

Guest interviewers included:
  • Sedgwick County Commissioner Lacey Cruse
  • Wichita School Board member Stan Reeser
  • City Attorney for City of Bel Aire, Jaci Kelly (pictured in red shirt)

The activity allowed students to apply many of the interview skills they have honed in the program. Some students admitted to being nervous.

"I'm glad I got through that," said student Jon Patton. "It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I'm ready to do a real interview now."

“We are so grateful for the community leaders who gave of their time to help our students prepare for real-world experiences," said Wichita Heights Career Specialist Ti'Juana Hardwell. "Allowing them this unique opportunity will help improve their confidence as they prepare to enter the workforce.”
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Preparing Students
for Successful Futures