DCPS looking to create new "essential skills" program at Apollo

·2 min read

May 26—Daviess County Public Schools is planning to create a new position at Apollo High School that will help students with what Superintendent Matt Robbins called essential skills for any employee to flourish in the workplace.

The position will be created in partnership with the nonprofit Jobs for American Graduates, which reached out to district officials about expanding its programming into this area of the state. The position is up for approval at the Thursday, May 26, DCPS board meeting.

Jennifer Crume, DCPS director of secondary education, told board members earlier this week that she wants to start this new class at Apollo, but JAG's mission and its drive is for the program to be offered in all of the district's high schools and middle schools.

JAG is a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting young people of great promise that serves youths who face significant challenges and helps them reach economic and academic success, according to its website, jag.org.

Crume said JAG's three-pronged approach is to provide employer engagement to students, along with project-based learning opportunities, and a focus on trauma-informed care for the most-needy population of students.

"The quickest, easiest way to describe it is it's all about soft employability skills that our students are not learning today," she said. "They are leaving high school without these skills. This makes sure that they have those, and it gives them direct connections with employers in our area."

According to statistics provided by JAG, Class of 2020 outcomes across the state include a 100% graduation rate of participants.

Robbins said the nonprofit is also willing to pay $40,000 toward salary and benefits to hire the JAG educator.

Board member Tom Payne asked if this position would be permanent, and Robbins told him as long the JAG program is functioning, it will be.

Payne said when he learned this program would involve teaching students soft skills, his interest and appreciation was piqued.

"This is so important," he said. "I'm excited to see how this program works out for us."

Crume agreed, and said a lot of people assume that just by being human you learn a lot of those skills, like critical thinking, problem solving, public speaking, professional writing and more.

"But we know that's not the case," she said.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315