New business-oriented JCPS programs showcase untapped potential

‘Yes 4 JCPS’ encourages funding for similar programs

Yes 4 JCPS, a non-profit group of community and business leaders, applauds the new business-oriented 3DE program at Valley High School and the Academy @ Shawnee and says this kind of program could be more commonplace with increased tax revenue.  A measure to increase revenue for the district by $54 million a year is currently on the ballot.

The 3DE program, created in partnership with Junior Achievement, gives students real-world work exposures by allowing business to “commission” student groups to work on actual challenges the company is currently facing.

“Programs like that are valuable for any child,” said Alice Houston, chair of the Yes 4 JCPS steering committee. “But we know they can especially be valuable for kids who aren’t already getting exposed to the world of business. They get real world experience, exposure to ‘what’s possible” and maybe even a real-life mentor or two – all of which can be lifechanging.”

The Board of Education has committed to spending that assessment money in four key areas – including the expansion of career-ready programs. The Academies of Louisville at JCPS and various career-centered programs are in demand among students and parents. The proposed property tax increase is 7 cents on a $100 of real estate value.

By offering students real-world experience, they can develop resumes, find mentors and get insight into their own work preferences and interests – so that they can choose post-secondary programs that match their interests.

“Ultimately, what we expect to see is students who discover their interests, talents and skills,” said Houston. “And it builds students who are successful at work, which is what employers want. Everyone wins.”

3DE is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Junior Achievement USA. The program was developed by JA of Georgia as a program Banneker High School, formerly one of Atlanta’s lowest-performing schools.  After the Phase I pilot concluded, the program showed a 46 percent increase in the graduation rate, with 38 percent fewer chronically-absent students on average compared to host school peers.