Personal Achievement School Success (PASS)
731 Fairgrounds Road
Winnemucca, NV 89445
Teacher: Shaun Mergel
History of the PASS Program
As a result of the concern about the increasing number of dropout students, the Humboldt County School Board implemented PASS, a voluntary high school dropout prevention program, in September 1993.
The PASS program is a second chance for at-risk students to be successful in earning a high school diploma. PASS is a privilege, for not all at-risk students are accepted into the program. Students who are accepted into the program must follow all classroom and school rules, policies and procedures. Failure to meet these standards of attendance, behavior, and academic progress will result in the student being dismissed from PASS and referred to JOIN or, in exceptional cases, to return to the high school.
Ultimately, the goal for these students is to earn enough credits to graduate, or in certain instances (pregnancy being one example) to catch up the credits they are deficient in and then return to the high school and continue on with their graduating class. Students may apply for the program, or their teacher, counselor, probation officer, etc. may recommend them. The selection criteria for acceptance are as follows:
- five or more credits behind cohort graduation class, or a significant deficit in required classes,
- social or emotional handicaps which prevent academic success in the traditional classroom setting,
- medical condition, which prevents academic success in the traditional classroom,
- withdrawal from Lowry High School, or
- other issues that prevent the student from succeeding in the traditional classroom setting.
Every student that applies to the PASS program must meet with the PASS Committee (and whenever possible, with a parent, guardian, or other caring adult) to be admitted to the program and to develop a Student Success Plan. The committee consists of an administrator, two counselors, two PASS instructors, and a regular education teacher. If the student meets the criteria for PASS, the committee will meet with the student and parent to determine if the student is prepared mentally and academically to be successful at PASS. Approximately 70% of students who apply to PASS and are screened are accepted into the program. Again, the goal of the program is for the student either to complete the graduation requirements at PASS and graduate, or to earn enough credits to return to the traditional high school at grade level.
During the screening meeting, the student and his/her parent meet with the committee to describe why the student wants to go to PASS, and to hear the academic, attendance, and behavior expectations for students who attend PASS. The student must convince the committee that PASS is the best learning environment for him or her, and that s/he has the self-motivation to perform successfully in a computer-based classroom. After the meeting, the committee discusses the results of the meeting, and then decides whether to accept the student into the program or recommend other options.
The PASS screening committee welcomes input from all interested parties to assist in deciding whether PASS is the best learning environment for a student. PASS is not a program designed for those students with chronic behavior problems. Lowry High School’s progressive discipline plan does not include assignment to PASS or JOIN as a form of discipline. Other options are available to teachers and administrators when dealing with students who have habitual discipline problems.
Screening and Selection Process
Students applying to PASS must initiate the application themselves or be referred by their parent(s), guardian, or school staff. Each student who applies to the program is admitted through an established selection process, beginning with a review of the completed forms by the PASS Screening Committee. The Committee includes the PASS instructors, a high school counselor, an administrator, and two high school teachers. The Committee makes the final decision concerning acceptance of a student; however, the juvenile justice system may place students in PASS at the discretion of the courts. Criteria that are considered to determine whether a student is accepted into PASS include:
- Five or more credits behind cohort graduation class, or a significant deficit in required classes.
- Social or emotional handicaps which prevent academic success in the traditional classroom setting.
- Withdrawal from county high school.
- Other conditions which prevent student from succeeding in the traditional classroom setting.
- Students applying to the PASS program must meet with the PASS Committee (and, whenever possible, with a parent, guardian, or other caring adult) to be admitted to the program and to develop the Student Success Plan.
PASS students take courses in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and affective skills development. The program also offers a variety of elective courses. The instructional strategies and general structure of the program are based on a team approach, which includes the student, instructors, and parent or guardian. This team is individually and collectively responsible for student progress. Teams will meet at least once each semester, or more often if necessary, to share student progress and modify, as necessary, the Student Success Plan.
PASS students earn credit according to the following schedule:
- One-half credit = 70 hours work for a core (required) course.
- One-half credit = 90 hours work for an elective course.
PASS has recently adopted the PLATO computer instruction program. The curriculum is approved by the Nevada Department of Education and offers a great variety in the choices of classes offered. Most lessons are delivered through PLATO, although some instruction is provided through off-line assignments, direct instruction and individual tutoring. Classes offered include Basic English, English I, II, II, IV, Novels, Creative Writing, Basic Writing, Child Development, Health, U.S. History, World History, Government, Basic Math, Algebra I, Computer Literacy, Computer Elective, General Science, Life Science, Earth Science, Environmental Science, Physical Science, Biology, Personal Enrichment, Work Skills I, II, Modified Physical Education, Workplace Readiness, Photography I, II, and Communications. Students are encouraged to participate in community service activities as well.
The PASS school day is divided into two sessions, each 3 hours 40 minutes per Nevada State requirements. The morning session runs from 7:50 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., and the afternoon session runs from 11:30 a.m. until 3:10 p.m. Students under the age of 17 must attend both sessions, while those over 17 may attend either session or both sessions. Students may also take correspondence courses, community college classes, etc. to earn additional credits toward graduation. Classes taken off-campus from the PASS program must be approved by administration.
PASS students are still Lowry High School students. They have the same rights and responsibilities as other Lowry High School students. Upon completion of Nevada State graduation requirements, PASS students may participate in Lowry High School graduation ceremonies and be awarded the appropriate diploma.