Preparing Students for Successful Futures
April 2021
JAG-K Transition Services Provides Special Support To Students in Foster Care
Through its recently developed Transition Services program, Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) is providing new support to students in foster care across Kansas.
A partnership with the Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) has helped JAG-K reach out in a novel way to students in foster care, helping them get plugged in at school, on track to graduate, and prepared for careers and post-secondary educational opportunities.
There are approximately 7,000 youth in the Kansas foster care system. Just 31% of students who age out of the Kansas foster care system graduate. 
According to national data:
  • Each time a student in foster care changes schools, he/she loses four to six months of academic progress
  • Students in foster care score 16-20 percentile points below their peers in state standardized tests
  •  Just 3% of youth who have been in foster care attend post-secondary education

JAG-K’s Transition Services is a multi-phase project to help increase successful outcomes for youth in the custody of the Secretary of DCF. When possible, these students participate in the traditional JAG-K program at a high school. Because students in foster care often change schools, however, this isn’t always possible. When a traditional JAG-K class is not available to them, students in Transition Services participate in a modified program.
“These students tend to be in an unstable situation. They are moving around a lot,” said Rebecca Lowe, Director of Transition Services. “With every move comes class changes and problems with transcripts and credit transfers.
“We want to follow the students whenever they move throughout the state. It’s very important that the students feel supported and they know they can have success, when this might be really difficult for them under normal circumstances.”
JAG-K, KSDE and DCF formed the Transition Services program because JAG-K had proven so successful with students in foster care. While the graduation rate for Kansas students in foster care is just 68% (31% for those who age out of the system), those who are involved in a traditional JAG-K graduate at 95%.
“The graduation rate for students in foster care in Kansas is really low,” Lowe said. “Our goal is to increase that rate, because that’s what we do with all our students. We have been successful in helping students with barriers graduate.”
JAG-K Adds Two to Board of Directors
JAG-K announced following its state Board of Directors meeting in March that it would be adding two new members:

  • Supt. Dr. Tiffany Anderson, Topeka Public Schools USD 501
  • Sen. Rick Billinger, Goodland

"We are so grateful to these two highly qualified individuals for their willingness to serve on our Board of Directors," said JAG-K President/CEO Chuck Knapp.

"Dr. Anderson is widely respected for her leadership in education and will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge, which will benefit our students and our school partners. Senator Billinger has been a long-time supporter of JAG-K and will provide us great insight when working with the Kansas Legislature and the appropriations process."
Knapp, Student Address Senate Committee
On March 16, JAG-K President/CEO Chuck Knapp addressed the Senate Education Committee on the state of the program. He discussed the potential for expansion, as well as the work of JAG-K Transition Services.
Topeka High School student Ryleigh Atkinson-McLaury (featured at top) described the benefits of JAG-K to her high school career.
McPherson Student Earns Scholarship
McPherson High School JAG-K Career Association President Kyra Byrd was announced today as one of 30 recipients of the Rudd Scholarship.
The Rudd Scholarship is a Kansas program for Kansas residents who qualify for a Pell Grant. The 4-year award is designed to pay any remaining costs associated with tuition and fees, books and supplies, and room and board after accounting for all other grants, scholarships and financial awards. It can be applied only towards studies at Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, or Wichita State University for full-time students in pursuit of an undergraduate degree
The 30 recipients of the scholarship, valued at $88,000, were chosen from approximately 1,300 applicants this year.
(Learn more about the Rudd Scholarship at
Elected by her classmates to lead the McPherson JAG-K program, the senior credits JAG-K with helping her learn about leadership and community service. The evidence-based program helps students with barriers to success prepare for post-secondary education and employment opportunities.
“Kyra has worked tremendously hard for this opportunity and is very deserving of this scholarship,” said Katelyn Loecker, JAG-K Career Specialist at McPherson High School. “She has truly paved the way for current and future JAG-K students, as she has taken full advantage of the opportunities that are available within our program.”
Byrd has earned a Nurse Aid certification and plans to use the scholarship to obtain a bachelor of Nursing Science at Wichita State.
“I am excited for the future, and I am thankful for JAG-K and everything they have done for me, constantly putting me on the right track,” Byrd said. “I knew that I really wanted to go to college, but my parents had told me that they do not have the money to pay for my college and that I would be funding most of it myself.”
National President Describes Impact of Program
Jobs for America's Graduates supports our nation's most...

Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) was founded forty years ago to address the inequities experienced by too many young adults in America. Over those four decades, JAG participants have shown that a well-executed model can help those historically...

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