Woodland’s PASS program for struggling students spotlighted its 2022 graduates with a special ceremony

The Woodland High School PASS Class of 2022. Photo courtesy Woodland School District
The Woodland High School PASS Class of 2022. Photo courtesy Woodland School District

Started in 2019, program targets struggling students and assigns staff members who help the students by offering whatever support they need to get back on-track

Woodland High School’s Positive Academic Support System (PASS) spotlighted its graduates in a special ceremony before this year’s commencement. The PASS program, started in 2019, targets struggling students and assigns staff members who help the students by offering whatever support they need to get back on-track. 

“Almost all of our program participants graduate on time,” said Stacy Gould, a PASS Case Manager. “I could not be prouder of these kids and the unbelievable dedication they show to turning around their studies.”

PASS pairs struggling students with dedicated staff members who mentor them throughout their high school careers by providing the students with the support they need as early as possible. 

“Students who end their ninth year on-track passing all of their courses are 3.5 times more likely to graduate from high school than peers who fail one or more classes,” said Assistant Principal Dan Uhlenkott, who helped develop the PASS program in 2019. “Many PASS students actually refer to their PASS mentors as ‘school moms’ who provide students with the push they need to succeed each school day.”

WHS Principal Phillip Pearson (left) congratulates 2022 grad Ian Wallace (right) on earning his diploma. Photo courtesy Woodland School District
WHS Principal Phillip Pearson (left) congratulates 2022 grad Ian Wallace (right) on earning his diploma. Photo courtesy Woodland School District

Cyndy Grayson, a PASS mentor, remembers the team trying to figure out exactly how the program would operate during its first year, “We learned that PASS is not about how students have failing grades, it’s about why our students have failing grades,” she said. “Students’ lives outside of school can have bigger impacts on their studies and academic success than anything that happens inside the classroom.”

PASS mentors learned that breaking through a struggling student’s barriers provides the key to the student’s success at school. Sometimes just helping a student have some food for breakfast each day can provide the extra edge they need to succeed. 

“Studies show that hunger can have a dramatic negative impact on student learning,” said Grayson. “We make sure our students have eaten every morning and get a good night’s sleep so they concentrate on their studies.”

Woodland High School's PASS program recognized its 2022 graduates in a special ceremony (Pictured: PASS Case Manager Stacy Gould in center wearing glasses). Photo courtesy Woodland School District
Woodland High School’s PASS program recognized its 2022 graduates in a special ceremony (Pictured: PASS Case Manager Stacy Gould in center wearing glasses). Photo courtesy Woodland School District

Students in PASS receive assistance with homework as well as encouragement to continue working hard in addition to training in ways to become self-advocates, working with their teachers to help find the support to succeed. 

“We help students connect with the right people and services so they don’t fall through the cracks,” said Gould. “Essentially, we are the ‘go-to resource’ to help guide them in the right direction.”

Learn more about how Woodland Public Schools educates students and serves the community, by visiting the dedicated news webpage at www.woodlandschools.org/news/wsd

Information provided by Woodland School District.


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