Scottsbluff fifth-graders will visit Chadron State on Wednesday, April 8.
A collaborative effort between Chadron State College, the Bluffs Middle School and Roosevelt Elementary at Scottsbluff is helping minority children get on the path to a college education.
Dr. Bill Roweton, a CSC professor who serves as the institution's director of sponsored research, and Nora Porupsky, Roosevelt Elementary School principal, teamed up to secure $70,000 of grant funding for the two-year project. The grant was awarded from the U.S. Department of Education's College Access Challenge Grant Program, which is administered by the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education in Nebraska.
The project is aimed at getting students and families from Roosevelt's fifth grade, who are primarily from Latino and American Indian backgrounds, sixth-grade students from the Bluffs Middle School, to value continuing education more. Students in fifth and sixth grades make campus visits and learn from enhanced curricula in mathematics, science and social studies.
Roweton began observing at Roosevelt Elementary more than three years ago and has worked with its teachers to write grants for specific needs.
"I've seen a need for a number of years because I've had a building relationship with Roosevelt Elementary students," Roweton said.
Roweton believes the elementary students will be more likely to pursue education if they begin to associate with CSC professionals and other Nebraska post-secondary educators at an early age. He said the students and their families cope with many physical, social and educational transitions, and the program helps to make this period more educationally positive.
Porupsky said the program is helping her students set goals.
"It provides an excellent opportunity for our students to collaborate with the college," she said. "And it's important for parents to see that a college education is something their kids will be able to attain."
Roosevelt's fifth-graders and their families are scheduled to visit CSC on Wednesday, April 8. The visit includes a tour of the planetarium, participation in art projects and a tour of the Sandoz Center. CSC staff is being paired with parents to answer questions about financial support for education, transfer of community college credits and the college application process.
Porupsky said the success of the first campus visit a year ago was encouraging. About 40 fifth-graders from the school visited the CSC campus during April 2008.
"For some of our children, that trip to Chadron was the first they'd been out of the (Platte) Valley," she said. "It's important for kids and families to know that they can even step on those college grounds."
--Story by Justin Haag, CSC College Relations
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