Mojave High School sees improvements as part of "turnaround" initiative
North Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Outgoing high school seniors around Clark County are starting to get ready for graduation ceremonies. Friday afternoon, students at Mojave High School began the process.
Mojave is one of three "turnaround" schools in the county.
"I feel honored to be graduating from Mojave. The fact that it's a turnaround school, we're doing great here, I love it. I'm excited about graduating," said Mojave Senior Tyesheia Hankston.
After years of academic under-achievement and behavior problems among students, the Clark County School District (CCSD) knew Mojave High School needed some changes.
"Last year, I used to just sit around, didn't do anything and none of my teachers would really say anything. But it seemed like this year, the teachers are more for the students succeeding," said D'Adrian Green, a senior at Mojave.
At the beginning of the 2011 school year, the district selected three low-performing schools - Mojave, Chaparral and Western High Schools - and put them in "turnaround status."
Basically giving the schools a fresh start.
At Mojave, the school cleaned up campus, hired new faculty and watched students' progress to make sure they're on track for graduation.
"The next step for us was, we knew we had to get student behavior at a level we'd expect of a CCSD high school. So we put some really firm structures in place. This is what we expect from all Mojave students, and the students were right on board with that," explained Mojave Principal Antonio Rael.
"I think I felt more comfortable being at school. I think I was more excited about coming to school, being able to use the restroom and not worry about it being trashed; knowing it's a great environment for me to learn and be in at the same time," said Hankston.
Since the turnaround, Mojave saw well over 100 seniors graduate, who were off track at the beginning of the year.
"It's been a struggle, some tears at times. But it's been a lot of fun, and I think we stand at the end of year one, not yet winning the war but we've won a lot of really important battles in building a foundation as we go forward to a new Mojave High School. A school not just students here, but the whole community, can be proud of," said Principal Rael.
Around 300 students from Mojave are graduating this year and will take part in their graduation ceremony next week.
As far as the other "turnaround" schools:
Chaparral is graduating more than 360 seniors this year. That's 100 more students than last year.
And Western identified nearly 250 students at-risk of not graduating on time at the beginning of the school year. Of those, 133 will receive standard diplomas; an additional 100 students have met their credit requirements and will retake sections of the High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) in July.