Nonprofit Celebrating 10 Years of Keeping Kids in School - 8 News NOW

Nonprofit Celebrating 10 Years of Keeping Kids in School

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LAS VEGAS -- Reducing the dropout rate is a top priority for new Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky.

The district has tried a number of strategies over the past few years, and they appear to working.

In 2011, CCSD had one of the lowest graduation rates in the country at 52 percent. That number jumped to 62 percent in 2012 and this past year, the district saw one of the highest rates ever at 72 percent.

The district is getting help to keep the trend going. 2014 is the 10-year anniversary of Communities in Schools operating in southern Nevada.

It is a nonprofit with a sole mission of getting more students to see their potential and graduate from high school.

Majorie Evora, a 17-year-old student, has been at Chaparral High School for nearly four years, but there was a time, when she considered dropping out.

"I didn't have a purpose. I just came to school because my mom sends me to school," Evora said.

The motivation for Evora to make it to graduation did not come until last year, when she met Jennifer Lopardo with Communities in Schools.

"We do what we possibly can, if that means stalking kids on Facebook, we do that," Lopardo said.

Lopardo is among more than 30 site coordinators assigned to 20 different schools in Clark County.

Their job is to help struggling students make the grade by keeping track of their school work and by being a person to which a student can always turn.

"If all it takes is a smile, that somebody cares, why wouldn't you do that?" Lopoardo said.

Aside from academic assistance, Communities in Schools also provides a free resource center for kids in need to get school supplies, personal items, and clothing.

At Chaparral High, the graduation rate has gone up 30 percent over the last three years.

The people behind Communities in Schools believe they have played a part in that progress.

"No one in my family has gone so far as I have. I will be first generation to graduate high school. It is a huge deal," Evora said.

Communities in Schools plans to expand to more campuses this coming year.

and they don't just work in high schools. They also help at elementary and middle schools. They say the earlier you can start supporting kids, the better.

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