Southeastern receives $30,000 grant for 'After School Achievement Program'
Contact: Rene Abadie
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ULS GRANT FUNDS AFTER SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENT GRANT -- Southeastern Louisiana University President John L. Crain, left, accepts a $30,000 check to be used in a university-sponsored education mentoring program. The funds are part of a $240,000 grant made to University of Louisiana System institutions by the Louisiana Department of Education and the University of Louisiana System. Pictured are, from left, Crain; UL System Board Chair Elsie Burkhalter, Tena Golding, Southeastern director of Faculty Excellence; Janice Vicknair of the Southeastern Department of Teaching and Learning; Ollie Tyler, deputy superintendent of the Department of Education; and UL System President Randy Moffett.
The programs, which are funded by Learn and Serve America and the Louisiana Department of Education, will link college students with at-risk youth to improve literacy, mathematics and interpersonal skills.
“There is a real need in our state for more hands-on learning and support,” said UL System President Randy Moffett. “With all eight of our universities strategically located throughout Louisiana, these sustainable mentoring programs are primed to have a tremendous impact -- one college student and one at-risk student at a time.”
The nine mentoring programs are designed to link 400 mentors with almost 1,000 at-risk students, enhancing the Louisiana Department of Education’s College and Career Readiness programs. The Department of Education contributed $80,000 towards this partnership.
Southeastern’s After School Achievement Program (ASAP) will link 150 teacher candidates and 300 elementary students over three years. The collaborative project between the university and a variety of community partners is designed to enhance the preparation of elementary students by using teacher candidates to provide an after-school support program for at-risk students who need assistance in mathematics.
“We appreciate this support, because it will allow us provide valuable hands-on learning experiences for our elementary education teacher candidates while also providing a much-needed service to area school children in helping them improve their understanding of math,” said Southeastern President John L. Crain.
Crain said starting in fall 2009, 25 Southeastern teacher candidates will engage 50 students in grades 1-6 from four elementary schools in Tangipahoa Parish in a support program that includes tutoring, mentoring activities, LEAP assistance, and personal development activities. Each semester, an additional 25 teacher candidates will be paired with an additional 50 elementary students.
To ensure that the service-learning component is appropriate and effective, an advisory committee will be formed with representatives from the Southeastern Office of Field Experiences, the Department of Mathematics, the Tangipahoa Parish School Board, the Tangipahoa Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council (TADAC), and the Miller Memorial Library Family Center.
“As the K-12 education community works to support our students and prepare them to successfully pursue their college and career goals, well-designed mentoring programs are vital to our efforts,” said State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek. “The University of Louisiana System is a valued partner to the Louisiana Department of Education as we attempt to raise student achievement through targeted initiatives, and we are grateful for Dr. Moffett’s consistent support through this program as well as many others. This is a unique occasion for college level students to serve their communities and for high school students to catch a glimpse of the opportunities that await them after graduation. I have no doubt that if they take advantage of the opportunity – both groups of students will learn and benefit from the experience.”
In addition to the Department of Education funding, the grants are a final $160,000 distribution of a three-year, $1.2 million grant to the UL System from the Corporation for National Community Service’s Learn and Serve America division. Over the past three years, the UL System has awarded over $1 million to 70 projects that incorporated service-learning on its eight campuses.
While some of those projects are still underway, they have already engaged 8,462 college students, 675 faculty and staff, 201 youth volunteers, 1,276 adult volunteers, and 243 community partners. These participants have logged almost 100,000 hours of service to Louisiana’s communities.
“As the largest provider of education graduates in the state, mentoring initiatives such as these are a natural outgrowth of the symbiotic relationships UL System schools have with their local elementary and secondary schools,” said Moffett.