Over the next several weeks, we will celebrate, as thousands of students graduate from high schools, colleges and universities. Unnoticed, however, will be the additional thousands who will not graduate. With less than 61 % of Clark County’s high school students graduating, and a very small percentage of those graduates attending college, we trail the rest of the country in the area of a qualified pool of future employees, and an educated workforce. We, as a community, have much work to do to.
Clark County School District (CCSD) is the 5th largest school district in the country. As of March 2013, there were more than 311,000 students enrolled in our schools, 71% of Nevada's public school population resides in our school district. This disparity creates a tremendous hardship on our school system to serve our students adequately. The fact that our district is underfunded is a much known statistic, one that is being widely addressed in our legislative sessions and political public hearings. Those efforts will no doubt result in increased funding for our region in the near future. Meanwhile, however, we cannot neglect the tens of thousands of students that are currently struggling in their daily studies and are in danger of dropping out of school, and simply go unaccounted for.
Early education, and giving our children the tools to succeed isn’t an idea we should strive towards, it’s what we need to do. Excuses as to why our children are not performing at national standards are not appropriate at this time. Early involvement has a direct impact on low income and other demographics that are at a high risk of falling behind. Many children arrive at school enrollment already behind. A recipe for failure is already in place, if additional support is not provided to these students to bring them to the appropriate level of knowledge. Building a child’s vocabulary, and teaching him or her to count to 100 at the earliest age sets the platform for success in a classroom and, ultimately, in life. As a community, we, the business leaders need to inspire Southern Nevada’s citizens to get involved, whether by way of time, and or resources. Together we can give the children of Clark County a better chance to succeed. The students in our district today, will be Southern Nevada’s work force tomorrow. Lets give them the opportunity to contribute and build our economy.
English Language Learners (ELL) is a significant portion of our student population, recent figures show that over 53,000 of CCSD students are enrolled in ELL services, but according to teachers’ reports, approximately 100,000 students are identified as ELL. These students will ultimately fall behind their peers if additional resources and services are not provided to them. Nevada has the highest percentage of ELL students with little or no resources directed to their specific needs. With such a predominant role in the composition of our student population ELL students’ success rates have a direct impact on the performance of our school district and our state. To ignore the needs of this demographic will hinder the performance for the entire Southern Nevada School system.
We have a tremendous task ahead to transform our education system and work collectively to ensure that the children of our community will experience the thrill of "donning the cap and gown with a sense of pride and achievement", and progress to become an educated and successful generation. This will not be a quick fix; it will take us, the employers, community leaders, and entrepreneurs to make the commitment to provide our students with the support, tools, and resources they need to succeed. Our students cannot wait another two or three years, for legislature to take effect. Southern Nevada cannot wait on legislation to improve the value of our city. "Every two years is another two years of students who will not pass the critical third grade reading gauge, two years of dismal sophomore math scores, two years of an unacceptable graduation rate, and two years of widening the gap between opportunity and achievement. We, as a community, need the transformation to begin today"
After school programs such as what we at Andson provide to students, are the roadways to their success. With as little as one hour per day of personal or small group attention, students, on average improve as much as two grade levels in reading and math. Although a large majority of the students we serve are ELL and/or children for low-income families, this need is not limited to these demographics. We live in a world of the Hospitality Industry; most of our professional- working parents are employed within that field. In the evenings, when the children are in need of assistance and discipline with homework and studies, parents are, unfortunately, working. Their children need our support just as much, so that the parents can continue to be part of our educated workforce.
“Homework not only reinforces what was learned in the classroom, it also teaches and develops independent learning skills. In the early years of a child's education, little homework is given. Simple math problems, studying spelling, practicing handwriting, and reading are typical homework assignments of an early learner. These are all skills that are best learned by repetition and practice. These are also the skills that must be mastered before the student is introduced to more advanced concepts. Homework is an effective method of reinforcing these skills. Students who practice their spelling words become adults who can spell. Students who practice their multiplication tables have an easier time learning division. Students who do homework every night learn skills that are necessary for educational success.
Students learn about their own learning styles.
Most children do not like homework. A student’s dislike of homework, or rather their like for everything that is not homework, will motivate students to get through their homework quicker to get to the things that they want to do. Though this may seem like a bad thing, it motivates students to find what method of learning works best for them. As children advance through school, more homework is given. Students who have found which methods of learning work best for them will have an easier time managing loads of homework in the future.
Homework is a necessary part of learning. It helps students develop their own independent learning skills and use them in a time effective manner. Skills learned through doing homework will allow students to enjoy success in the classroom and in their adult lives.”
Through partnerships with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, Communities in Schools, St. Judes Ranch for Children, Walter Bracken Elementary School, Vegas PBS, and several others within the valley, Andson Academics provides the assistance, guidance, discipline and reinforcements to hundreds of students throughout the school year. It is our determination and goal to encourage a lifelong love for learning amongst our young citizens and to provide them with the assistance they need along the way. With that foundation in place, and with the support of our business and community leaders, we will produce successful and productive citizens.