Preparing Students for Successful Futures
February 2021
Middle School Programs Lay Foundation
While JAG-K is generally recognized for the work it does in high schools across Kansas - helping students overcome barriers to graduation and career success - it has realized the benefits of starting these supports as early as middle school. 
JAG-K has 10 programs in middle schools, where students are being equipped with the tools they will need to succeed in high school and beyond.  
“JAG-K is an incredible support for middle school students,” said Rachel Hand, Career Specialist at Turner Middle School in Kansas City. “The concepts we teach allow young students to begin to truly understand themselves and their impact on others.”  
“Often we have students in our programs who aren’t involved in other activities or haven’t found their niche, and JAG-K offers a place to belong,” said Ali Fisher, Westridge Middle School (Shawnee Mission) Career Specialist. “In many cases, they have leadership potential, but aren’t always using it in the best way. We get to work with those students and begin to see their confidence grow, showing them what they are capable of and helping them make better decisions.”  

(Pictured at top of this newsletter and in this article are Westridge Middle School students)
Dr. Bill Weber, principal of Turner Middle School, said JAG-K helps students in his school feel valued and find a place where they belong.
“Middle school is the time in schooling where I believe we can have the most impact on students,” Weber said. “If we were to wait until high school, I firmly believe that would be too late. Middle school students need connection and direction during their most developmental years.”
Fisher said a slight difference from high school programs is in the types of guests who frequent the classroom. She said there is less emphasis placed on presenting career options and more placed on guiding students to success in their high school years. This might include introductions to principals, guidance counselors and school resource officers. They inform students about pathways, programs and clubs that will be available to them in high school.  
“By identifying these students in middle school, you begin building those relationships and resiliency in them. The more caring adults they have in their life, the more successful they’re going to be,” Fisher said.  
JAG-K accredited middle school programs are found in:  
Colby Middle School  
Hutchinson Middle School  
Winfield Middle School  
Chisholm Middle School in Newton  
Carl Bruce Middle School in KC  
Turner Middle School in KC  
Hocker Grove Middle School in Shawnee Mission
Westridge Middle School in Shawnee Mission  

JAG-K also works with middle school students in Kiowa County Junior High and Stafford Junior High as part of multi-year programs.

JAG Builds Leaders Across the Country
JAG-K statewide student president Chrishayla Adams (pictured at left), recently appointed to a state advisory group, is featured in a message from JAG promoting alumni who are now serving in leadership roles.

The Topeka High School student was recently appointed to the Kansas Advisory Group for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by Gov. Laura Kelly.
The message includes examples of students who, with the benefit of JAG experience and training, have recently achieved significant leadership positions. A few of the examples include:
Anna Tovar, Arizona: Tovar, a JAG student in the 1990s, served in both Houses of the Arizona State Legislature. In 2016, Tovar was the first female elected as Mayor of Tolleson, AZ. As mayor, Tovar brought JAG to all the high schools in Tolleson, and also serves on JAG’s National Board.
A’Alyiah Watkins, Indiana: After overcoming challenges, Watkins, a JAG alumna, now serves on the Cedar Rapids Police Department, where she is the second African-American female officer to be employed by the CRPD in its history, and the first to serve in 40 years.
Sabrina Javellana, Florida: Javellana, a JAG alumna, was the youngest person to be elected to Vice Mayor of Hallandale Beach in 2018. Javellana champions for social justice, especially around economic, racial, and gender-based issues.
JAG-K Claims Most NSLA Awards of Any State
If a national champion were crowned for Jobs for America’s Graduates’ (JAG) national competition, Kansas would have won by a landslide in 2020.
JAG National hosted the National Student Leadership Academy (NSLA) in December, and of the 12 entries who placed in the competitive events, six were from Kansas.
First place finishes:
          Kansas - 3
          Nevada - 1
Second place finishes:
           Alabama - 2
           South Carolina - 1
           Kentucky - 1
Third place finishes:
           Kansas -2
           Nebraska - 2

“We are so proud that our students persevered through the pandemic to prepare their virtual presentations and demonstrate the skills they are learning in their local programs,” said JAG-K President and CEO Chuck Knapp. “No overall champion is awarded at NSLA, but Kansas students certainly represented JAG-K and our state well.”
Help JAG-K Every Time You Shop
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Preparing Students
for Successful Futures