At-risk studnets need a second chance

By Samuel Robbins - Staff Reporter

Students who could and should be at Highline are getting in trouble and are being led to the juvenile system, a Highline faculty member said last week.

Project SCOPE (Students Creating Optimal Performance Education) is a new program at Highline with the goal of stopping the school to prison pipeline.

Natorius Ezell is a Highline faculty member and a teacher within Project SCOPE. He spoke at Honors Colloquy last week.

Honors Colloquy are a series of weekly lectures open to all of the Highline community. Topics relate to annual themes relevant to student learning.

SCOPE is working with the Washington legal system to stop students from going down a route which can eventually lead to prison.

"Now children who go through the court system can come here instead," Ezell said.

SCOPE acts as a buffer, allowing struggling teens to see if they can better coexist within a college environment rather than be sent to juvenile detention.

"Most SCOPE students never thought that they would be on a college campus nor want to be, but here they are," Ezell said.

SCOPE is also enrolling educationally struggling students.

"Our goal is for this program to change the culture within homes. Many come from families who have no knowledge of college," Ezell said.

SCOPE currently has 29 students but they have open enrollment weekly.

"We want SCOPE to act as an enrollment tool. We want the students that we help to seek others within their communities that we can help," Ezell said.

SCOPE has been at Highline for two quarters and some students of the program are approaching their first quarter of college classes.

"I'm excited for the kids, excited to see the changes that this brings," Ezell said.

Ezell said that he is glad that this program is at Highline.

"This college is known for its diversity. We have teachers who the students can relate with," he said.

SCOPE is becoming more known around Highline, Ezell said.

"The campus is starting to help, and we are taking advantage of the resources," Ezell said.

Students in SCOPE begin with attending what the program calls the hub quarter.

Classes are taught by Ezell which prepare students for college life, while establishing connections with faculty along the way.

"We teach like we care: We even bring in food because we know that students can't learn hungry," he said.

Ezell said that the project could use more help from around the campus.

"We want people to avoid micro-aggressions, to be friendly, and to be real with the college culture," he said.

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