Grand Junction High School teachers present at California conference

Teachers involved in Grand Junction High School’s STRIVE program will be the only out-of-state presenters at an education conference next month in California.

STRIVE, which stands for Students Taking Responsibility and Valuing Education, is a college preparatory class Hispanic students can apply to take during an elective period. It is the brainchild of teacher Lorena Thompson, who was sick of seeing intelligent Hispanic students drop out of high school.

“I decided to stop being sick of being sick” and create STRIVE, Thompson said.

Teachers offer STRIVE during what would otherwise be their planning period for the day in order to save money. Thompson created the program and teaches it with two other teachers, Justin Whiteford and Lyndsay Thompson, because the school had no funding to adopt a curriculum program called Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). AVID, which addresses the same population as STRIVE and has the same goals, is popular in California, part of the reason why STRIVE teachers have been asked to talk about their work Nov. 18-19 at the California Educational Research Association’s annual conference in San Diego.

Up to 25 students are accepted into STRIVE at a time, and all who graduate from high school prepared for college are guaranteed a spot at Mesa State College.

If STRIVE students have a 3.0 grade point average or better, they get a scholarship to attend the college, according to Thompson.

STRIVE is a yearlong program for ninth- through 12th-graders. Students learn study skills and ways to be better students. They also learn doing poorly in any other class is not acceptable.

“I have two kids that are getting straight A’s for the first time in their entire lives,” Thompson said, adding the average grade point average for the 25 students is 3.1.


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