Project Next Step event to provide tools for success for high school students

August 13, 2019 /

The Kern High School District welcomes students and parents to its Project Next Step event, a free one-day conference and resource fair for incoming freshmen and returning high school students.

Project Next Step is a collaboration between leaders from Kern’s educational system and community organizations to support and prepare students for the Next Step in achieving their full potential as future professionals and leaders, according to a news release.

“The theory behind the program is that we have recognized [AKA Sorority] kids but also the idea is to give information to all kids and parents, including academic, social, and behavior workshops to be more successful when entering high school,” said Brenda Lewis, Associate Superintendent of Instruction.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for many years has been recognizing scholarly African Americans graduating from junior high. Project Next Step initially was intended for these incoming freshmen students to track them over the course of four years to check their high status.

However, recently AKA Sorority partnered up with community organizations such as the Kern High School District, Kappa Omega Omega Chapter, Bakersfield Ivy League Foundation, Bakersfield College, California State University, Bakersfield, and Bakersfield City School District to provide services to all incoming freshmen and current high school students.

“We are just appreciative of our partnerships,” Lewis said. “We believe this is good for the kids. The more information we can provide to students and parents is really good.”

At the event, each student, depending on their grade level, will be able to attend different sessions to help their specific needs.

Freshmen will be introduced to affordable cost options, A-G requirements needed to graduate high school, clubs and programs on campus, classroom etiquette and dress code, and intervention support services.

Sophomore and Juniors will have information about FAFSA, dual enrollment, test taking strategies, and will also be able to attend a Peer Pressure and Leadership session lead by Chief Lyle Martin and Judge Gloria Cannon.

“[The Peer Pressure and Leadership session] is so students can get an insight and information about how to make good choices so they could be good student leaders in their campus and community,” Lewis said.

Seniors will view a presentation on topics, such as how to write a personal statement, information about the ACT and SAT, and college night.

Guest speaker, Kristin Beall, from the Kern Community Foundation will lead workshops on scholarships and affordable cost options post high school graduation.

The event is also informational for parents. Parents will be given information about graduation requirements, scholarships, how to navigate the school system and the right questions to ask, who to contact and how to do so, how to navigate Blackboard and Synergy — CSU Bakersfield and Bakersfield College’s student online learning tool — to check their student’s attendance, grades, and messages.

“Even though we do a lot of this through the year, it’s still good to partner with community organizations like BC and CSUB, pulling together to help as many students as we can,” Lewis, states.

Guest speakers attending the event include CSUB President Lynnette Zelenzy, BC President Sonya Christian, KHSD board member Dr. Bryan Schaefer, President Linda McKnight of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh, and James Burton, this year’s keynote speaker, Project Best Advisory Board member, and a former probation officer.

A light breakfast and lunch will be served. During the lunch portion of the event, there will be a Community Fair where organizations plan to extend their support services.

The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17 at Bakersfield College. Those attending the event must register.