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TAWS “Working Students” Program Opens for Montgomery County High School Seniors
Thirty-four Montgomery County high school seniors are working full or almost-full time while taking classes they need to graduate, thanks to the TAWS (TranZed Academy for Working Students) program.
In its third year, TAWS is a program of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and is managed by The Children’s Guild Alliance, a nonprofit organization. The students, from seven MCPS high schools, may take high school online courses only or combine these with online courses for credit from Montgomery College.
“The program was developed for young people who want to maximize their working schedules while attending school,” said Duane Arbogast, chief of strategy and innovation for The Children’s Guild. “These students may want to jump-start their careers, or they may have to work to support their families. Some work eight-hour shifts and then do assignments. We’re able to help them complete graduation requirements and prepare for college, an apprenticeship or work advancement.”
Genevieve Floyd, supervisor of career and postsecondary partnerships for MCPS, added that the program meets a critical need in the county, offering “a valuable component to the MCPS portfolio of options for students.” She said seniors can select or be referred to TAWS throughout the academic year. Floyd and Arbogast expect enrollment to double in January, as it has in the past two years. “Several school-based staff have indicated it’s made an important difference,” Floyd noted.
Demetra Crawford, program director of TAWS, said, “Each year, we’ve helped students graduate who wouldn’t have been able to if we didn’t exist. We offer online education with a personal touch, including counseling and coaching.”
To enroll in TAWS, seniors must be on track to graduate, meet high school testing requirements, be up to date on credit completion through 11th grade and submit a letter of recommendation from their employer. In past years, several employers have become involved in working with students on their careers. Among employers of new TAWS students are Champs Sports, Target, McDonald’s, Maryland Orthopedic Specialists, the Martin Luther King Recreational Center, Spring Mill Bread Company, Michael’s, the Kensington Fire Department, Dunkin Donuts, AJC Professional Painting, Inc., Mabilo Construction LLC and Panera Bread.
Of the 34 students in TAWS’ current enrollment, 20 are female. Almost two-thirds of the students are Hispanic, and 26 percent are Black.
Note to media: To interview Mr. Arbogast, current TAWS students or recent TAWS graduates, please contact Judy Phair at firstname.lastname@example.org, @judyphair, (240) 786-6624 or cell (202) 903-3227.
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