Updated: Mar 18
An analysis of our June 2022 scholarship program indicates that our recipients are having difficulty transitioning to college or technical training. There is a need for an "early warning system" that helps students stay on track for post-secondary education. A Washington Post review of high school graduation rates highlighted the importance of tracking behavior, attendance and grades starting at the ninth grade level. This focus on accountability resulted in a significant increase in high school graduation rates in Alabama and West Virginia.* A high school diploma coupled with a plan for higher education can result in significant lifetime earnings for Hispanic youth. In moving forward, we will continue to fund scholarships and provide more mentoring support with a goal of increasing the number of youth that pursue a college degree or technical skills certification.
Phase One of this approach is underway in our work with Bryant High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) provides an “alternative school” education option that includes small class size, more attention to individual needs of students dealing with social and emotional issues, and a generally supportive structure to build honesty, trustworthiness and mutual respect. An important aspect of this support mechanism is the Achievement, Integrity and Maturity (AIM) Program serving students who have been referred by the Fairfax County School Board due to serious violations of the code of conduct outlined in the FCPS Student Rights and Responsibilities.
We are working with Bryant High School staff to provide life skill training (i.e, financial literacy, job search skills, and an overview of post-secondary opportunities) and assistance with tuition and technical certification training costs. A $2,000 fund has been established for students that need assistance to finish high school and scholarships in memory of Christopher James Goughnour, Elena Bathrick, Dulce Deinken and Dilian Deal will be provided in 2023 for students enrolled in college or technical training.
As we move forward with this mentoring activity we are exploring ways to help young students in elementary and middle school. We had a meeting with a Fairfax County Public School mentor, Keith Dean, and had a good discussion on how to mentor elementary school students. We intend to follow up with Keith and others on how we can help in this area.
* Washington Post - 11/18/2022 - Why Alabama and West suddenly have amazing graduation rates.