Note: Specific university project descriptions are included below. Photos of check presentations can be found on our website, www.ulsystem.edu.
BATON ROUGE – Today the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System awarded $240,000 in grants to its eight universities to establish or enhance mentoring programs. 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, numeracy 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.
“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.
Below are descriptions of each mentoring program.
$30,000 – Grambling State University
Grambling State University’s Enhancing the Cultural, Mathematical, Scientific, Writing, and Technological Skills of High School Students will allow Grambling students to assist in the academic development of area high school students by establishing a mentoring program. The program will promote one-on-one interaction between GSU’s Pre-Calculus and Biology students and high school students to facilitate the advancement of social, cultural, and academic development among the groups. Students will participate in tutorial sessions, test taking skills workshops and will be introduced to resources and opportunities available through the Department of Education to enhance their basic skills and improve their chances of having successful careers in business, industry, and education fields. The program seeks specifically to help at least 50 mentees discover the full richness of the sciences over one academic year. One hundred mentor students from Grambling State University and 50 mentee students will benefit from the program over one academic year.
$30,000 – Louisiana Tech University
Louisiana Tech University’s The Solution, Act II: A Mentoring Program will utilize 50 of Louisiana Tech’s Student Government Association students for the mentoring of 50 eighth grade students from four Lincoln Parish high schools. The program is focused on academic tutoring, social interactions, and field trips to assist high school students in acquiring greater levels of understanding of technology and communication skills, as well as the resources, information and opportunities available through the Department of Education, which will reinforce their ability to compete in the work force. Career exploration sessions led by a Licensed Professional Counselor (or a LPC intern) and a Nationally Certified Career Counselor will provide mentees with a unique opportunity to take career assessment and to use resources in the Career Resource Laboratory. In improving numeracy and literacy, students also gain access to career technology which they can transport and apply as they progress in high school. This proposal will mentor 50 students for each year of the grant and beyond.
$25,501 – McNeese State University
McNeese State University’s Reading and Writing in Circles: Improving Eighth-Grade English Language Arts Skills will utilize 25 English Education majors and tutors from the Write to Excellence Center to conduct reading circles of 4-6 students for 25 eighth-grade students from Oak Park Middle School in Calcasieu Parish. The program will be sustained by adding 10 new mentor/tutors each semester. Students will improve their reading and writing skills, develop an ability to discuss literary elements, and learn to write critically about feelings that emerge from discussing literature. In addition to enhancing these skills, the program will also introduce participating students and their families to the resources and opportunities available through the Department of Education, with family night discussions emphasizing the importance of preparing for college and careers, testing strategies, TOPS requirements, financial aid programs and scholarship opportunities. The project will begin in the fall of 2009.
$30,000 – Nicholls State University
Nicholls State University’s One Campus, One Community: A Mentoring Program and Community Partnership will be conducted by the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and will consist of pairing 50 college students with 50 middle-high school students within a 25 mile radius of the university. The courses will begin in the spring of 2010 and will emphasize tutoring and college preparatory assistance activities. The students will also enjoy social activities that will broaden their horizons and familiarize them with future opportunities, including higher education. The project will focus on facilitating engagement between the students of Nicholls and the surrounding communities, pairing an additional 50 college and 50 K-12 students each year to impact 150 K-12 students over three years.
$30,043 – Northwestern State University
Northwestern State University’s NSU Tutors Reaching Near and Faris a service organization consisting of undergraduates from all major fields of study for the provision of free tutoring, mentoring, and related services to at least 40 at-risk youth to foster students’ literacy, numeracy and social skills. The goal is to reach and work with at-risk students in the local and outlying school districts in hopes of building strong community relationships that will strengthen students’ academic skills, with tutoring being available four days a week for two hours each. The proposed grant expands the current program’s efforts and goals and extends its reach and impact through weekend events and increased accessibility for students outside the area, with community partners providing transportation, and it is expected to run for at least two years beginning in the fall of 2009.
$30,000 – Southeastern Louisiana University
Southeastern Louisiana University’s After School Achievement Program (ASAP) is a collaborative project between Southeastern and a variety of community partners that will enhance the preparation of elementary students by utilizing teacher candidates to provide an after school support program for at-risk students who need assistance in mathematics. Starting in the fall of 2009, 25 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, directly impacting 150 teacher candidates and 300 elementary students over three years. To ensure that the service-learning component is appropriate and effective, an advisory committee will be formed with representatives from the 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.
$28,133 – University of Louisiana at Lafayette (2 Projects)
University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Success Bound: the Role of University of Louisiana Lafayette Sociological Society in Mentoring High School Students towards College Success will utilize 50 UL Lafayette Sociological Society students for the mentoring of 50 ninth grade students from Northside High School, Carencro High School, and Opelousas High School through tutoring, college preparatory assistance, and social activities. Each year, an additional 50 college students and 50 high school students will be paired, impacting a total of 150 high school students over three years. The overreaching goal of this project is to unite faculty, students, and community representatives from diverse disciplines to address low high school graduation rates and corresponding college entry rates among African American students.
A Head Start for Family and Consumer Sciences: Mentoring by UL Lafayette Hospitality Management Studentswill pair 1 senior level UL Lafayette Hospitality Management (HRTM) intern with each of the 10 Acadiana high school programs to offer Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) programs to over 250 junior and senior high school students. These interns will provide the high school students with support on technical industry skills, career paths, post secondary education opportunities, and industry certifications. They will also mentor the FCS schools in preparation for local, state, and national competitions held each year. The project aims for the HRTM program to create and foster an ongoing relationship with the FCS programs in Acadiana and to ultimately create an awareness of the possibilities in the educational sector for the youth interested in the foodservice industry. The project will begin March 2009.
$30,000 – University of Louisiana at Monroe
The University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Warhawks Mentoring Program will utilize 50 carefully trained students from their College of Arts and Sciences to focus on mentoring 50 ninth grade high school students from Wossman High School and Carroll High School in the Monroe area. Through one-on-one relationships, the mentors will provide personal and academic guidance, encouragement, and structured college and career readiness skills training to ensure that students gain basic skills and information to succeed in high school and enroll in a post secondary program. Individualized attention, special events and exposure to ULM’s campus and students will help mentees begin to envision their potential and to develop specific plans for future success. The program will run through the 2009-2010 school year, with a goal of continuing beyond the term of the present grant.