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More Kudos for Clark Fork

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Dawn Schatz reports that Clark Fork High School is Gearing Up

ince the arrival of Principal Phil Kemink, four years ago , Clark Fork Jr/Sr High School is rapidly becoming the school of choice. The school has been undergoing a slow and steady improvement from academics, to attracting young enthusiastic teachers, indoor/outside improvements, and technology upgrades, much of it due to this young principal’s natural ability to attract those with high expectations for the children of our community.

Clark Fork is one of 32 recipients statewide to receive the GEAR-UP Idaho Grant, an early awareness program providing services, curriculum, strategy and goal-setting programs to benefit students in low income areas. Gear-Up follows students from junior high through high school.

In this school year, the first of actual implementation of the program, Dr. Sandy Maras, the school’s new counselor has designed a multi-dimensional pathway to include after-school programs as well as school curriculum. While exploring different careers, seventh and eighth graders can look forward to a career day, job shadowing, and field trips.

Self- awareness is also a goal of Gear-Up so Sandy has acquired a curriculum that gently guides the students to examine their strengths, interests, and barriers which might prevent their success in school and in life. Gear Up’s ultimate goal is to increase post-graduate education and success by providing a well-tread pathway for students to follow.

In order to create a college bound culture, the Gear-Up Grant will focus on increasing the amount of students participating in advanced classes as well as the number of students taking ACT and SAT college entrance exams. The most exciting events occur this spring when eighth graders and their parents will visit NIC, and then in the summer, when they will enjoy an overnight stay at the University of Idaho. By inviting the parents, the school hopes to raise their expectations of life for their children to include college.

Equally important is educating parents on the availability and actual process of obtaining financial aid. While most parents are aware of the need for financial aid in sending their child to college, very few actually start saving money at this early stage. And many more are confused and intimidated by the process of filling out financial aid forms or searching for scholarships. Gear-Up will eliminate some of this fear and aid the process.

Education leads to unlimited choices and opportunities which students and their parents need to embrace. January is a busy month for Gear-Up students after they return from break. Eighth graders will be taking a pre-ACT test called EXPLORE, and both seventh and eighth graders will participate in a Career Day on January 18. If you’d like to volunteer for this event, please call Dawn Schatz at 266-1131.

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