The PASS program at the school currently helps at-risk high school juniors and seniors stay on the path to graduating.
The focus groups in the new Crossroads program have already shown that many AISD freshmen and sophomores need the same kind of help.
The Principal of North Heights Alternative School, Mark Leach, spoke at Monday night’s AISD school board meeting about the different programs offered at the school.
This includes its newest program.
“The Crossroads program will be a program under the umbrella of North Heights,” said Leach. “And it’s basically an expansion of our current high school program, which will identify ninth and 10th graders who are at risk of not graduating and put them in an environment that is smaller and more conducive to help them not only catch up to where their cohorts are, but also to graduate on time.”
Recent graduates of North Heights Alternative School also shared their experiences under the PASS program.
“The first time I went there, I went in with the mindset of, I can do whatever I want and everything,” said recent graduate Connor Kindle. “And so, I ended up dropping out from there and I ended up getting my GED. I sort of looked at my future with that and realized there wasn’t much there.”
Kindle said he was given a second chance.
“I called them just to see if they would accept me back because I was kind of a bad student in the beginning,” he said. "So they gave me a chance and started me off in the night classes and I worked in there and proved that I actually wanted to be there and I wanted to graduate.
He believes a lot of students out there could benefit from individualized learning and not the 'factory' of the traditional school system.
“They’re just trying to get the students and get them graduate and get them going, get on with the next group,” said Kindle. “With North Heights, it’s so much more individualized and the teachers actually are there to help the students, and not just with their learning but if you need somebody to talk to you, they’re there.”
The Crossroads Program goes into effect as a pilot program at Tascosa High School next August.
“We all know that there are ninth and 10th graders out there who we’re not capturing before they leave school,” said Leach. “And so hopefully by expanding these programs, we can open up the opportunity for more students to be involved in dropout recovery programs. And not only to get them graduated but get them on a career pathway.”