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CEI joins forces with partners to support military students, families in academic success

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Doherty High senior Zachary Lacross talks to 9NEWS about his academic experience as a military dependent.

Doherty High senior Zachary Lacross talks to 9NEWS about his academic experience as a military dependent.

Education stability is always a concern for children of military personnel who tend to transfer from school to school, which makes the continuity of academic rigor so important in preparing students for college or careers after high school.

Colorado Education Initiative’s Colorado Legacy Schools (CLS) AP program is partnering with the National Math and Science Initiative’s (NMSI) College Readiness Program for Military Families to help military children become college-ready with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and AP courses in Colorado schools that serve large numbers of students in military families. 

“AP credits are especially valuable to students in military families because they are portable as families move and students transfer to new schools,” said CLS Director Greg Hessee. “Our CLS program helps ensure that these students are prepared for the rigors of college and career.”

Doherty High School (DHS) in Colorado Springs School District 11 has more than 2,000 students, 189 are military dependents. Doherty Principal Kevin Gardner hopes the new partnership will inspire all of his students to take the opportunity to challenge themselves.

Doherty Senior Zachary Lacross’ parents both served in the U.S. Air Force and his dad retired from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

"I’ve been transferring schools throughout my life,” he said. “I realized I have to prepare for college so I’m taking four AP courses — AP literature, physics, calculus II and economics.” 

Lacross said extra supports like Saturday study sessions and mock exams will help him gain college-ready skills and college credit before ever stepping foot on a college campus.

“I learn how to manage workload and time,” he said. “I have to decide what to spend time on and I also gain a work ethic.” 

The CLS program provides schools with:

  •  A four-day AP summer institute for educators, with training on how to teach underrepresented students.
  • Mock exams for students and scoring practice for teachers at mock readings.
  • Two-day fall professional development for AP teachers.
  • Ongoing instructional support from content specialists.
  • Saturday in-person and online study sessions for students.

The five new Colorado Springs-area schools funded by the program are: 

  • Atlas Preparatory School
  • Coronado High School 
  • Doherty High School 
  • Ellicott High School
  • Falcon High School

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