“I think that we’re the best kept secret in Nevada, that’s what I really think.”
That’s Ms. Nya M. Berry, speaking about Nevada State High School. The dual-credit public charter school is giving more than 700 juniors and seniors a unique opportunity to take real college courses at university locations around the state.
Berry is executive director at Nevada State High School, but she’s also a mom of three students, two of whom graduated from the school. Her story of finding Nevada State High School shows how effective the school is at equipping students to step confidently into college.
“My middle son happens to be a kiddo that struggled with ADHD and had a 504 Plan, and I felt like the traditional school environment wasn’t working for him,” Berry said.
“I thought to myself, ‘I’ve got to be able to have this kid prepared to go to college and be able to take on the challenging courses and not die doing it,’” she continued. “Where can I give my kid the exposure? Where can I make sure that he learns to be responsible?”
At Nevada State High School, Berry and her son found a learning environment that met those needs. A typical school day switched from sitting in a classroom to actively catching buses across town, making it to challenging classes on time, and navigating a flexible study schedule.
Berry’s son finished high school with 27 college credits under his belt and a very happy mom.
“He just grew up in two years and that’s what I was looking for— that ability to help me help this kid start to adult,” said Berry.
Berry’s story is a nutshell version of how Nevada State High School’s 100% college readiness program works. It gives motivated students of all backgrounds the resources to kickstart their college career.
The school teaches transition courses and helps students schedule up to five college classes each semester. “Education advising coordinators” guide students as they choose their pathway to college, prepare for tests, and learn financial planning.
“We look for a combination of things in terms of the experience: Not quite a counselor, not quite a teacher, able to deliver instruction, but also that ability to develop relationships with students and develop those individualized education plans,” said Berry.
The coordinators make it their goal to help students gain confidence in managing study time. That way they can perform their best academically.
“What do you do with nine hours of time for an English class when your English professor really didn’t give any homework but you have papers due every three weeks?” described Berry. “It’s not just a time management thing; it’s also knowing how to study.”
Motivated students of all backgrounds are learning these skills and finding success at Nevada State High School. According to Berry, many first generation college students and families arrive at the school without knowing what an associate’s degree is, yet about 30% of Nevada State High School students are able to graduate with one.
It’s exciting to learn how Nevada State High School is helping juniors and seniors find happiness through its flexible learning environment. Motivated students can use that environment to kickstart their careers, or even to pursue an education they otherwise could not afford.
Feeling ready to intentionally and confidently transition into college is such a huge factor in high school happiness; kudos to Nevada State High School for helping students (and families) make that transition!
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