APPLEGATE: Supporting students’ academic abilities in Niles and beyond

Published 6:00 am Sunday, October 2, 2022

At Niles Community Schools, our students embark on an academic, social and emotional journey of growth and exploration. While many students strive to be valedictorian or part of the Top 10 Seniors, they are only scratching the surface of their potential. With fall upon us and students working tirelessly in and out of the classroom, I want to highlight that it takes a community effort – from our caring parents to our dedicated educators to our committed Board of Education members – to ensure that the opportunities for students after high school are endless.

Our team strives to ensure our students are adequately prepared for life after high school. That’s why at Niles Community Schools, no matter the grade level, we aim to provide students with the resources and support they need to succeed.

To help set the base foundation that we will build upon, students and families can enroll in the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP). Designed to provide every preschooler with the best educational opportunities through a hands-on, child-centered curriculum, this federally-funded program provides young learners with a rich learning environment before they reach the age of five. This safe and

nurturing space offers many opportunities for kids to play and learn through a variety of exercises that kickstart their educational growth. These exercises are also geared towards a student’s current skills and interests, while the program helps develop strong teacher-child relations in combination with strong family-teacher relationships, both of which are vital to a student’s success.

As your child continues to grow, NCS also works with the YMCA of Greater Michiana to provide before-and after-school programs and care. Children can participate in age-appropriate activities and exercises that promote physical activity, healthy habits and social responsibilities. These programs also allow for students to work on their homework assignments and receive tutoring support from adult supervisors.

We are proud to partner with community organizations to provide our school community with unique learning experiences. Within our district, we offer robust programs designed for every learner, including unique offerings like our Math and Science Center, career tech education courses, multiple in-person AP courses, college level classes, 5th Year Early Middle College, Niles Cedar Lane and WAY Program. These innovative programs give students the opportunity to learn independently as well as through group projects, so they gain the necessary skills for their future after high school.

As students begin to embark on their post-high school graduation journey, the district’s advisors are available to offer college and career-ready prep resources, which includes ACT/SAT readiness, tutoring, volunteering opportunities, college and career fairs and scholarship information. For students interested in entering the workforce after high school, the district coordinates visits from employers from high demand jobs in the state of Michigan. If a student is looking to explore and learn more about the paths they can choose from, they should visit or reach out to our College and Career Center.

With their hard work, tenacity and dedication to their academic, social and emotional journeys, we know our Vikings are more than capable of succeeding within the halls of Niles Community Schools and beyond. We will continue to do all that we can to support and encouragement them every step of the way. Thank you, and as always, Go Vikes!