How to Raise the Academic Eligibility Rate in Just One Year

McNair High School, Stockton, California

The teachers at McNair High School in Stockton, California, were frustrated! The student success course they were using was focused solely on academic skills. Knowing that success in the adult world requires more than academics; these educators wanted more for their students.

Thus, the search began for a more full-bodied solution to help prepare their students for future challenges. Finding their way to the annual Get Focused...Stay Focused! Conference in Santa Barbara, California, the team of dedicated educators came across the Career Choices series curriculum, and it was pretty much love at first sight.

Convinced Career Choices was the sort of curriculum they had been searching for, Jennifer and her colleagues brought it to Principal James Davis, whom they knew to be a “big picture” administrator. The consensus was that the Career Choices series would provide a comprehensive, well-organized curriculum and McNair’s students would be given the tools to identify their own unique goals and career paths.

Attendance at the Focus on Freshman Conference was the next step in the planning process, so they began recruiting talented teachers who would embrace the vision. The Freshman Intervention and Transition (FIT) team began to gel with instructors Kayla Kersey, Adriana Anserlian, Alicia Wong, Gina Azevedo, Patty Burnett, Veronica Pena, Justin Tokheim, Joseph Trinh, and Jennifer Tillet.

With the assistance and coordination of the teachers in the AVID program, the team moved past a scheduling hurdle that was complicated by McNair’s 4X4 block, and implementation began.

The results have been nothing short of amazing! The baseline academic eligibility to participate in sports at McNair is a 2.0 grade point average. Prior to the FIT program, only 66% of freshman students were eligible. With implementation of the Career Choices series, there has been an almost immediate increase in student eligibility numbers. Students are becoming more motivated and are investing more in their dreams by participating in the high school sports programs, as demonstrated by the fact that 86% of freshman students are now meeting eligibility requirements.

In Jennifer’s words, “It was so gratifying to see the looks on the faces of these young students who were beginning to lose their way, find it again through this program. A sense of ‘buy-in’ is created when students arrive at goals through their own efforts. It’s only then that they begin to see the connection between what they’re studying and where they’re headed in real life.”