June 22, 2009

Case Western Reserve Hosts High School Boys in Achievement Program

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On Tuesdays and Thursdays, a group of male high school students from Cleveland's Martin Luther King Jr. and Glenville High Schools get a taste of college life on the campus of Case Western Reserve University. One of the objectives of the program is to help the young men make it through high school so that the prospect of attending college becomes a tangible and viable option.

The young men--more than a dozen from each high school--are participants in Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland's Closing the Achievement Gap program, which aims to increase the graduation rate for all male students, with a special focus on African Americans.

The Case Western Reserve community is a key partner in the program, which ends June 30. Janice Eatman Williams, assistant director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning, coordinates campus involvement from students, faculty, staff and departments. The young men are tutored in math, science, English and history by Case Western Reserve students. They also brush up on their computer skills in the Kelvin Smith Library computer labs.

"The objective is to move these young men from 9th to 10th grade. On a national level, that's when they drop out of school," said Timothy Roberts, the program's liaison and coordinator at Martin Luther King Jr. High School. George Golden holds the same position at Glenville High School.

Roberts said being exposed to a college campus helps the boys envision a positive future. He also said it was important for the young men to have role models to help them along the way. "They have resources and someone helping them. For some of them, this is the first time they have someone telling them they can be high achievers."

During a recent Thursday session, Eatman Williams talked with the young men about speaking up when they do not understand their school assignments. She also emphasized the importance of practicing their academic skills. "The more often you see something, the more sense it begins to make. Repetition means reinforcement," she explained while going over a math lesson. "For instance, use your math skills while running errands for your mom at the grocery store. Add while you're in the store. If you enjoy sports, read the sports section of the newspaper to reinforce reading."

At the same session, several Case Western Reserve students offered study tips and answered general questions about life as a college student.

Roberts said there are chapters of the Closing the Achievement Gap program at every Cleveland public high school, as well as in East Cleveland. So far, he said the results show that the program is working. "We have reports from last year that show substantial advancement. This initiative will probably be implemented in other states. We could change the way urban education is structured."

For more information contact Kimyette Finley, 216.368.0521.

Posted by: Patricia Schellenbach, June 22, 2009 01:33 PM | News Topics: Cleveland

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