Individual Presentation


Ballroom D

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Family & Community


Strand #1 Academic Achievement & School Leadership The Lewis County Cultivating Youth program is designed as dropout prevention and credit retrieval summer program that assists at-risk youth in closing the gap caused by missing credits for them to complete high school graduation. The program concurrently provides an introduction to postsecondary education through college level coursework that establishes a baseline for the future academic endeavors. The college level series is delivered through a differentiated instruction method and the flip classroom method that allows for greater student engagement and better retention of the topic materials. Topics for the week are put into real scenarios on a local level to imprint the concepts rather than another boring session to endure, especially if you are a teen and would rather be hanging out with friends. This program in addition to the credit retrieval course also includes leadership, practical life skills, self-esteem and hands on practice of lessons learned through both academia and workshops. The students plan, plant, cultivate and harvest garden produce for experiential learning and serve the community by donating the harvest to the local food bank. Upon completion of the college level courses students are awarded grades through a point based system that includes attendance, participation and handing in various assignments. These grades then build a baseline for their post-secondary academic future; in addition they have the option to apply for elective high school credit based on the completion of the summer courses. Strand #5 Family and Community The Lewis County Cultivating Youth program is a community collaboration (Gavigan, 2010) project that includes several entities and organizations as well as partnerships with both the local community college and land-grant university extension. It is a local program developed locally, for local youth to improve their quality of life on a local level. It helps them become stewards of their community by putting lessons into practice and helping others in the community at the same time. The students participating in the program are those with high at-risk indicators; poverty, behind in high school credits, and perhaps some life events that have relegated them to juvenile services. It is through this program that at-risk students have discovered their potential, finished high school (Swail, 2009), are participating in a local running start program at the community college or are enrolled as a declared major student or have acquired a position in their community workforce. It takes a community and the Cultivating Youth program is that community. Sources: Dr. Watson Scott Swail. (2009). Graduating At risk students: A cross sector analysis. Retrieved from Imagine America : Gavigan, K. (2010). Together We Can: Collaborating to Meet the Needs of At-risk Students. Retrieved from University of South Carolina Scholar Commons:

Brief Program Description

Cultivating Youth is an at-risk student community agency and organization collaboration that provides opportunities to 1) attend leadership training and college level classes, 2) retrieve and receive duel credits to achieve graduation, and 3) directly apply learned life-skills and workforce preparation to applied experiences while building self- esteem.

It is a full circle approach to improve quality of life.


Lewis County Cultivating Youth having completed its fifth year readies community at-risk youth for the workforce; it empowers them to be active partners in a summer session community environment that adds to the economic health of the local area. The unique partnership of local entities, organizations, and agencies provide a pathway to success for its youth, their communities, and their future. “Dropping out of high school is no longer an option for young people in the 21st century economy,” as President Obama has recently reiterated (The White House, 2009). A study of graduation rates over time in comparison to the projected earning power over a lifetime indicates that dropping out of high school creates a lesser earning power for the individual and adds costs to society as a whole. Students who do not graduate from high school are significantly more likely to rely upon public assistance or be incarcerated. Education is not a one size fits all operation in modern times. With the recognition of learning styles, (audio, visual and experiential) students now have greater options for success through means of instruction unlike the traditional model. The “flip classroom (Strayer, 2007),” for example, engages a student to participate in learning rather than to function as a receptive sponge. The collaborative effort of this project within a small rural community recognizes the need for alternative pathways to success. Multiple community organizations and agencies have banded together to create opportunity for at- risk youth to catch up on their journey to graduation, receive leadership and workforce preparation training through practical methods of instruction that puts theory to experiential practice , that can be immediately put into daily life and on the job. We have created a realistic learning environment where at-risk youth learn what it means to be employed while participating in leadership and workforce preparation sessions in addition to a college level course in entrepreneurship focusing on small business and marketing and small business management as a part of the program. This program may be replicated with ease nationally through local available resources. Source: Strayer, J. F. (2007). The Flipped Classroom. Retrieved from Ohio State University:


It has been through the practice of differentiated teaching methods (Gavigan and Kurtts, 2010), the flipped classroom theory (Strayer, 2007) and hands on experiential learning that the Cultivating Youth program students are finding success. Success to them means having completed a college level course in its entirety, realizing that they do have potential academically and through life skill related community service to others that there is a niche in society that they can fill in a positive manner. Students who participate in credit recovery programs using non-traditional teaching methods are found to complete high school and in many cases continuing into a running start program or onto higher education opportunities. On the local level the graduation rate is near 76% on average including all students; looking a little deeper, the graduation rate for Latino/Hispanics is about 66% and Native Americans, 50%. By creating a means for students to graduate from high school through the Cultivating Youth program in this small community changes the statistics dramatically, and for the better of everyone, the students and their community as a whole. Sources: Gavigan, K., & Kurtts, S. (2010). University of South Carolina Scholar Commons. Retrieved from Differentiated Teaching Metholds Together We Can: Collaborating to Meet the Needs of At-risk Students: Strayer, J. F. (2007). The Flipped Classroom. Retrieved from Ohio State University:

Biographical Sketch


Sheila L. Gray

WSU Lewis County Extension Ph: (office) 360.740.1214

351 NW North Street FAX: 360.740.2792

Chehalis WA 98532 Email:


University of Phoenix, Phoenix AZ

2003 MA Organizational Management

Washington State University, Pullman WA

1983 BS Horticulture


Ms. Gray’s professional work history, education and personal life experiences have intertwined prepared her to work with at-risk youth in an environment that dovetails classroom theory with experiential activities. This integrated program provide students the means to put into practice information garnered through academia to work in a real life setting while at the same time building self-esteem and leadership skills for their future endeavors.


2003 to present - Washington State University Extension, Lewis County, Chehalis WA

County Director/Extension Agent for Lewis County. Oversee all extension programming at the county level. Administration and determination of county department budget. Provide leadership and direction for faculty and office staff. Provide leadership for area Food Safety staff. Direct Community Development programming for Lewis County; Pathways to Prosperity, Women in Ag, NW Area Foundation Horizons: A community leadership to reduce poverty program, farmers markets, at-risk youth entrepreneurship coursework. Organization, coordination and delivery of Agri-natural resource related workshop series, Master Gardener, Master Recycler Composter, Living on the Land and Cultivating Success (Fall 14).

Member of WSU State Teams (Forestry, Horticulture Green Team, Horizons,

and Small Farm. Resource for Horticulture & Natural Resources subject matter.

1995 to 2003 - Washington State University Extension, Cowlitz County, Kelso WA

ANR Community Educator for Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties.

Responsible for educational programming in agriculture, horticulture and natural resource program. Administered the Master Gardener Program.

Specific responsibilities include: Make local site visits and contacts with the general public.

Providing regional programs that feature current animal management information.

Organize local workshops, demonstrations and workshops highlighting horticulture related topics. Work with government other to provide accurate information, participate in an advisory role on regulations impacting the gardening and green industry clientele.

Train Master Gardener Volunteers, direct and support programming efforts.

Organize and participate in local workshops in all counties of responsibility to provide training in horticulture and land management.


Danielle A. Craig

PO Box 267 Galvin, WA 98544 · 360.431.8433 ·


3/03- 6/14: Oregon State University BS Natural Resources Sciences (in progress

6/97 - 6/00: Centralia College AA General studies

6/2000 Centralia College Running Start student, graduated with honors

9/94 - 6/98: Centralia High School- Graduated with honors, 1998.

Work Experience

Lewis County WSU Extension

3/14 -present As Clerical Assistant I, the position responsibilities include assisting with the development and completion special projects such as grant writing, clerical tasks, filing, data entry, and various other responsibilities as assigned. Supervisor: Sheila Gray, 360-740-1212

Centralia High School

8/12-present As the NovaNET Supervisor- the position is responsible for assisting at-risk high school youth in getting back on track to graduate through an online credit retrieval program called NovaNET that allows students to retrieve credit in previous classes they have failed in core and elective courses. Additionally all aspects of tracking student progress are implemented included performing weekly grade checks with students for all their classes, weekly check-ins with students about academic and/or personal challenges, collaboration with other teachers to support student progress, and communication with counselors, parent/guardians, administrators, and probation and parole officers on academic and personal progress. Students are also supported in obtaining employment and preparing to enter college.

Supervisor: Josh Lowe, 360-330-7605

Centralia Middle School (via Educational Service District 113)

8/12-present As an Education Assistant, the position is responsible for supporting students to improve their academic progress in the after school program. This includes supporting students with homework and planning daily enrichment activities for students.

Supervisor, Nicoe King, 360-880-1622

At-risk Youth Cultivating Success Program – Lewis County Salvation Army

5/14-present As the instructor for the program, the position is responsible for program content development, calendar of curriculum for an 8-week delivery, pre and post course evaluations. The program interweaves leadership theory and experiential on site gardening to grow produce to support the Lewis County Salvation Army food bank;I coordinate with community partners for additional help and also plan community service opportunities for student participation. Supervisor: Major DeWayne Halstad, 360-736-4339

Growing Places Farm

5/12-2013: As the Youth Program Director/Teacher, is responsible for the recruiting, hiring, and supervising for the summer Cultivating Youth Program. This includes planning out an 8+ week curriculum of lesson plans, daily activities, farmwork, service projects within the community and all education and trainings. Overseeing day-to-day operations at the farm, working with community partners, and ensuring that goals and objectives of the program are met to empower local youth and provide them with mentorship, job skills training, and work ethics in an effort to support them in graduating from high school, perusing post-secondary education, and being positive contributing members of their communities.

President of Board of Directors: Ellen Termine, 360-330-7618

Keyword Descriptors

Dropout prevention, on-time graduation, At-risk youth, Community program

Presentation Year


Start Date

3-3-2015 8:30 AM

End Date

3-3-2015 9:45 AM


Mar 3rd, 8:30 AM Mar 3rd, 9:45 AM

It Takes a Community: On-Time Graduation for At-Risk Youth

Ballroom D

Cultivating Youth is an at-risk student community agency and organization collaboration that provides opportunities to 1) attend leadership training and college level classes, 2) retrieve and receive duel credits to achieve graduation, and 3) directly apply learned life-skills and workforce preparation to applied experiences while building self- esteem.

It is a full circle approach to improve quality of life.