In the spring of 2014, Durango School District 9-R launched their Keys to High School Success (KTHSS) conferences for 8th grade students. Designed to complement the Women's Resource Center's long-standing Girls to Women transitional program for eighth-grade girls, the KTHSS boys’ program has been hugely successful in supporting the schools in delivery around important health standards around positive self-image, advocacy and healthy relationships. With workshops designed to build self-confidence, peer support, leadership skills, teamwork skills, and many other important 21st century skills, this critical community service provides students in our region opportunities to grow the necessary skills to take on the challenges, both socially and academically, they will face in high school and beyond.
The KTHSS conferences benefit ALL eighth graders throughout La Plata County. This includes the Durango School District 9-R, Mountain Middle School, Liberty School, St. Columba School, Bayfield Middle School, Ignacio Middle School and homeschooled girls and boys. These programs are offered as part of the schools’ curricula each year so all eighth-graders who attend benefit from the program. The conferences aim to provide them with the right tools to be successful in high school by embedding skills to help them be advocates, understand and practice healthy relationships and to develop a positive self-image. Not only do these boys and girls stand to learn and grow from the conference, but the schools and community also stand to gain from the character building that occurs at the conference and continues as they transition into the high school of their choice.