Oasis gives its students a ‘Jump Start’ into higher ed

Oasis Academy Jump Start senior Kaitlin Haddock, left, and junior Ellie Gehman discuss story analysis with Western Nevada College English professor Jessica Rowe in her English 102 class.

Oasis Academy Jump Start senior Kaitlin Haddock, left, and junior Ellie Gehman discuss story analysis with Western Nevada College English professor Jessica Rowe in her English 102 class.

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Oasis Academy College Preparatory High School is operating its Jump Start program through Western Nevada College a little differently than the remainder of the college’s 13 other cohorts.

As a result, more students are benefiting from the chance to earn up to an associate degree before graduating from high school.

“They are the only ‘open entry’ participant, meaning that the Oasis Academy Jump Start College program does not screen out applicants,” said WNC Dean of Student Services John Kinkella. “They allow students in development classes to also participate in the program.”

Operating similar to the motto of “Leaving No One Behind,” Oasis has provided the necessary academic support to make loftier dreams possible for first-generation college students, English as a second language learners and special education students.

“One hundred percent of our students are enrolled in Jump Start,” said Rochelle Tisdale, Oasis Academy’s executive director. “Not all will graduate from high school with their AA degrees, but they will have college credits and experience as they move forward.

“We have had high student success rates even though our students are not screened or pre-selected for the program. These all present their own challenges and allows us to help these students learn how to manage college before going off on their own. We teach students how to communicate with professors and how to access services provided by WNC and OACP.”

A $353,423 College and Career Readiness Grant through the Nevada Department of Education pays for students’ Jump Start tuition and books, as well as a counselor’s salary.

“OACP is committed to paying 100 percent of the expenses for our students, including tuition, books, fees, as well as providing a Chromebook for each student,” Tisdale said.

Student success was prevalent during the past semester at Oasis. Students performed a 92 percent pass rate of classes during the fall 2016 semester, including 35 percent receiving 4.0s. Tisdale attributes those achievements to the thorough support network that is set up around the students.

“OACP students have several layers of support in place,” Tisdale said. “They have what is provided from the college through the Academic Skills Center, and, in addition to that, 100 percent of our students meet with a counselor or academic adviser weekly to review each class and all grades.”

Moreover, 9th- and 10th-grade teachers are available on the Oasis campus from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and by appointment for additional free tutoring and support. Oasis also pays cohort coaches to do study groups outside of WNC hours. Tisdale said Oasis also brings in special tutors in specific cases.

“The cohort coaches meet with me, my academic adviser and our counselor every week to discuss the progress of each student and make plans of action when needed,” Tisdale said. “This semester, we intend to begin including WNC faculty in these meetings.”

The desired outcome from the efforts of so many comes this spring when as many as 50 Oasis students graduate with an associate degree.

“That’s vastly more than any other institution and reflects the high level of commitment to student success at Oasis Academy,” Kinkella said.

For more information about Oasis Academy’s Jump Start program, phone 775-423-5437 or email alenon@oasisacademyfallon.us.


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