Local NewsRaising The Bar


Clark County Acceleration Academy helps students earn high school diploma

Posted at 5:38 PM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-27 11:41:39-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Students can drop out of high school for a number of reasons: they're working, or caring for a family member, they're bullied, or maybe just hanging out with the wrong crowd. But no matter what, every one of them deserves a shot at earning their diploma.

In this Raising The Bar report, we look at a brand new program offering local students a second chance.

"It's been a great response," says Nichelle Caldwell, Registrar for Clark County's Acceleration Academy.

She says more than 200 students have already applied. The national program is new to the valley this fall and aims to help young adults, up to age 22, who have struggled in a traditional educational setting.

"We will have a support system out there. We'll have coaches, career coaches. We'll have academic coaches that will help them along," says Caldwell.

The aim of Acceleration Academy is to provide special guidance to prospective students like Preston Powers, and help them earn their high school diplomas.

"I kind of lost motivation. All my grades were slipping and then I failed most of my classes, says Preston.

Tardiness has been a serious issue for this 17-year-old, who suffers from insomnia and is also bipolar. Preston says his struggles at school, have led to struggles at home.

"If you are failing, home life isn't as good. It's like, it's just a struggle for everything. I think going here is going to help better my life and all aspects, says Preston.

Acceleration Academy offers extended hours and the ability to work from home, creating a learning plan that works for each individual.

"It's a blended learning situation. So the kids will be learning mostly at the school. But they can also go online," says Randy Pagel, Acceleration Academy's District Director.

He says the school will provide a service desperately needed in the valley after his last school was closed.

"I was the principal at an alternative night school which served students that were dropouts or credit deficient. They would come to our school and work with teachers. But they could also work at their own pace to catch up on their credits. So that's what this school is going to be all about," says Pagel.

The best part is, it's all free.

"It doesn't cost the taxpayer a dime. This is all funded with grant money and it's no cost to the students," says Pagel.

As for Preston, he says he's already thinking beyond high school.

"I might go to college. I don't know. I was never thinking about college before this school. But now this school has opened up so many doors for me, says Preston.

Classes start Sept. 9. Click here for more information about Clark County's Acceleration Academy.

What is Raising The Bar?

Together with parents, educators, business and community leaders, 13 Action News will lead the discussion on improving education in Southern Nevada. We will connect families with solutions that empower our community to build a foundation for a successful future. If you have a story idea, email us at raisingthebar@ktnv.com.