Fox 21 News: LEAD Program

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — According to Lead The Learning And Educating Disabilities, LEAD Foundation, one in five students with a learning disability drops out of high school. It’s a statistic the LEAD Foundation is changing.

“Cheyenne Mountain High School’s lead program has a 100 percent graduation rate,” said Jessie Pocock, executive director of the LEAD Foundation.

One of the foundation’s programs, the LEAD program, gives students a look at how their brain works and how to be more competitive academically, but it’s all taught with a casual vibe.

“There’s no desks allowed and usually we don’t allow pencils or paper. The whole experience is come here everyday, learn about your brain, don’t worry about all the other stuff that goes on,” said Alan Pocock, director of Lead Program at Cheyenne Mountain High School.

It’s a safe place for students to talk about how they feel with the challenges they face when they’re in more typical classrooms.

“We just like find security in this room and we talk about really personal things honestly, it’s what makes us so close to each other,” said Madison Michel, a senior at Cheyenne Mountain High School.

LEAD Foundation officials say students also learn about their educational rights.

“Students are learning to self-advocate, and they’re learning about what their legal rights are as someone with a learning disability,” Jessie said.

Even former students of the LEAD program said it’s been a big help in shaping their future.

“I would be really, super shy. Before, I was not a people person I didn’t know how to approach my teachers, I didn’t know how to approach people in general,” said Megan Bierley, a board member of the Lead Program and a former student of foundation’s classes.

Foundation officials said other schools within the Pikes Peak region are now planning on implementing the program.

The LEAD Foundation hopes to expand their program beyond Colorado Springs and increase graduation rates for students with disabilities statewide.


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