Pep fest for future of students at Crossroads

Wednesdays at Crossroads High Schools are the day foam fingers, pom poms and megaphones come out.

No, the students don’t have a pep fest for their school every week; they have a pep fest for their future.

Crossroads, an alternative learning center (ALC), was selected for “Ramp-up to Readiness,” a program sponsored by the University of Minnesota.

The program’s goal is to increase the number of Minnesota students who graduate from high school with the knowledge, skills and habits necessary to be successful in college or the work place. Its tenets are rigor, access, motivation and persistence.

This Wednesday, ninth- and 10th-grade students are working on goals.

Teachers Alison Konkol, Jessica Netzloff, Coral-Lyn Wyman, and Cullum Staples, along with para Cathy Woodward, encourage students as they write attainable goals.

When it comes time to share, students shout out goals about passing their driver’s license test and their health. The goal about going to college gets the biggest cheer of all.

Through a curriculum focused on academic, admissions, career, financial and personal and social readiness, Ramp-up to Readiness is designed to get students ready and excited for college.

Ramp-up to Readiness wants students to have the necessary tools to pursue a post-secondary degree if that’s their choice or to have the skills necessary to be successful in a job.

“We are not pushing college and we are not saying every student has to go,” Wyman said.

“Ramp-up to Readiness means being prepared for life after high school. We respect all decisions; we are not pro one way or the other, we are pro preparing kids.”

For some students at Crossroads, without Ramp-up to Readiness, college might not even be on their radar.

Some will be the first member in their family to graduate from high school and have not thought past that goal.

Others don’t have family support for post-secondary education.

“The first week of school a ninth-grade student told me her mom told her she cannot go to college because she attends an ALC,” said Konkol.

“I told the student no, that’s not true.

“For some students the big thing is to graduate from high school but we want them to be ready to take the next step.

“Ramp-up to Readiness is the piece of the puzzle they really needed.”

Students will take part in Ramp-up to Readiness for 15 minutes every Wednesday throughout the school year.

Each week (left to right) Alison Konkol, Jessica Netzloff, Cathy Woodward, Coral-Lyn Wyman and Cullum Staples get Crossroads Alternative High School students thinking about and excited for their careers and post-secondary education.

Each week (left to right) Alison Konkol, Jessica Netzloff, Cathy Woodward, Coral-Lyn Wyman and Cullum Staples get Crossroads Alternative High School students thinking about and excited for their careers and post-secondary education.

In the first month of school, students have already expressed interest in the program.

“The students ask about Ramp-up to Readiness day; they like they hoopla,” Wyman said.

“The longer you talk about college and life after high school, the less scary it will be.

“The results of this program will come down the road.”

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