A Message from the Tomorrow Project Administrator
We are reaching more and more students!!! The Tomorrow Project academies served approximately 2,594 students during the 2011-12 school year and summer. This is approximately 235 more students than in our inaugural year of 2010-11. The word is getting around about our collective University and community efforts to close the opportunity gap, and responsiveness could not be better!
Students are experiencing high-quality instruction from some of our top teachers in the region. Elementary students are gaining critical foundational skills that will help them to develop and maintain lifelong assets, such as focus, concentration,and decicion-making, time-management and leadership abilities.
Some middle and high school students are developing "college knowledge" by preparing portfolios to help them understand the academic pre-requisites for increasing their chances of finishing high school and attending college, developing an understanding of the processes of applying to college, navigating the financial aid and scholarship application processes, and realizing the long-term impact of dropping out of school versus finishing high school versus finishing college. Other middle and high school students are being exposed to curriculum that typically is reserved for college students.
Students are having a wonderful time and really enjoy the academies, as evidenced by an average 98 percent attendance rate across all academies. Parents are excited about their children's success and are being inspired to participate in their own educational and academic growth. All of our academies have a parent-training component. In one of the academies, 32 parents graduated from a four-session Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) training. Parents were so inspired by the student speakers from last year's academy that two of them volunteered to be the parent speakers for their parent training program. What great role models the students and parents are being for each other.
All of this is wonderful, and we are going to keep the momentum going, but our ultimate goal is impact. So, to that end, we are collecting data across academies via parent, student and teacher surveys, questionnairs and interviews. We want to see if there are any trends, patterns or improvements that develop in terms of test scores, attendance, behavior, participation in advanced classes, etc. Many students in the academies have already made their minds up that Pacific is where they want to attend college. Students as young as third and fourth grades are already insisting to their parents that, "The University of the Pacific is MY school." And you know what? They're right!
- Nancy Shaw, Tomorrow Project Administrator