Tatiana Burgess (English Education 2014), Camille Fontenelle (Elementary Education 2016), SaiSri Gajjala (Biotech Engineering and Leadership 2015), Megan Hallett (English Education 2014), and Kevin Nai (English Education 2014) are investigating the national urgency to increase college access and completion rates by focusing on federal, state, and district policies and practices. After “ingesting” background reading on the nature of the federal and state relationship in education, federal theories of change and action, and policy briefs on college degree access as a global economic issue as well as a civil rights issue, these students had an opportunity to meet fact to face with important stakeholders to discuss views on practices as they relate to intended local behavior by state and federal policy makers. The undergrad research team conducted a lively discussion with key stakeholders on Wednesday June 12.
(left to right facing out) Malik Stewart, State and Federal Programs Director in the Redclay School District, Cimone Philpotts, Legislative intern DE Senate Finance Committee, Leo Dohan, Naramco Manager and Sponsor of the Bridge to Employment program, Curtis Bedford, Principal at Newark High School, Shannon Griffin, Parent Advocate and Executive Director of Learning Link of Delaware, and Latisha Bracey, Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Chis Coons Discuss Education Policy and Practices that Support School Success and College Access
Beginning on Monday June 17, the undergraduates continued collecting data by convening sessions that support a group of Newark High School seniors. The high school students will complete college and scholarship applications during a 10 day campus experience: On Track for Success, which is funded by the Bridge to Employment (Johnson and Johnson–Naramco) program. ASPIRE has partnered with this effort for the past six years.
The summer 2013 work continues the College Awareness Reaching Everyone (CARE) agenda introduced in 2009 as a central activity of the ASPIRE community. The outreach, service learning, and community based research activities build leadership skills for the undergraduate students, and the activities provide additional opportunities for pre-service teachers to develop culturally responsive interaction styles and practices. Taria Pritchett, English Education Class of 2012 and now on the faculty at Mt. Pleasant High School returned to campus to conduct sessions on writing competitive college essays.
The work this summer continues with support from the Office of Undergraduate Research and Experiential learning, with added support from the School of Public Policy and Administration. Several of the undergraduates are conducting research to fulfill credit requirements in a new Public Policy, Education, and Leadership course.
Seven of the high school students are continuing work that they began last summer when ASPIRE supported their efforts to become better self-regulated learners. ASPIRE members are tracking the changes in the high school students’ academic profiles that appear associated with the work done in summer 2012 to help the high school students improve their time management and study skills. Undergraduates Kevin Nai and Sai Gajjala returned for the second summer to work with the Newark High students, and continue research on college preparation and access.
Tatiana Burgess, Megan Hallett, and Camille Fontenelle met the Newark students during sessions held at the high school and here on campus during the school year. The undergrads will complete this phase of their research when the first summer session concludes on May 5, but they will work through July to finalize their paper and poster presentations for the August undergraduate research symposium. Their work will focus on two major course questions:
1) Examination of the On Track for Success Program as an Agentive Process –What pre/post experience changes are evident in students’ reports of their personal confidence that they will pursue post-secondary degrees and in their reports they will achieve post-secondary degrees? What are the pre/post experience changes in students’ reports of barriers that might prevent success and in the students’ reports of resources that will ensure their success? How does On Track for Success (as a component of BTE) address national concerns for improving college completion rates in the U.S.? What are the merits and limitations of this kind of intervention? How is this kind of intervention viewed by key stakeholders who shape policy and practice?
2) How does the On Track for Success program reflect national priorities related to the emerging Knowledge Economy and theories of change and action? Who is participating and to what effect in postsecondary education? What factors seem most influential in the college/career choices of the high school students? Are they most concerned about location, environment, type of school, admissions requirements, quality of the academic programs, expenses, financial aid, housing, campus life, other? What institutional options are the students considering and how are these influenced by market dynamics and public policy?
On Tuesday May 14, the English Education faculty and students hosted their annual graduation reception, and it was a
wonderful and memorable event!
ASPIRE VP Ellenie Cruz was recognized by her class as The Teacher Who Is Most Likely to Change the World. Great Choice!!!
Lawrence “Mr. Bain” Manley was hailed as The Voice of Reason — A Reasonable Choice for Sure
Junior Kevin Nai got a head start on celebrating for his own 2014 graduation by being recognized for his promise as a teacher by Delaware School Leaders. Kevin’s mom is thrilled, and the ASPIRE community is very proud.
Congratulations to ALL and stayed tuned…this is the best week of the last four years!!!
Celebration of Excellence on Friday April 12, 2013.
ASPIRE members were prominent of among the Elementary Education majors who received special recognition for achievement. Camille Fontenelle received the Delta Kappa Gamma International Society, Alpha Chapter-Freshman Award which recognizes future promise in education based on academic achievement and participation in education-related activities. Camille, who is enrolled in the Honors College has already identified a research project and faculty mentor. She is planning a comparative study of rigor required of elementary students in schools on the Island of St. Lucia and here in Delaware. Camille is the treasure-elect of ASPIRE and is pictured below with her father.
Amber Beaman received the Mathematics Education Undergraduate Award which recognizes her outstanding potential as a mathematics educator. Amber has completed several research projects and most recently worked with Professor Jim Hiebert and conducted a comparative study of mathematics instruction in three countries using TIMMS video data to identify patterns in pedagogical styles and expectations of teachers. Amber served as treasurer of ASPIRE in 2012. She is pictured below with her mother and her sister.
The ASPIRE Family salutes Camille and Amber!!
Two prospective education majors and members of the UD Class of 2017 chat with Riley O’Brien during Destination Delaware. Two hundred future Blue Hens found their way to campus on Sunday April 7th for a fast-paced, over night adventure that sealed the deal for many of the pre-freshmen. ASPIRE leaders were on hand to welcome students to campus on Sunday and during a parting luncheon on Monday April 8th.
On Wednesday, March 20th, Arpita, Kevin, Ellie and Kelsey, telephoned telephone approximately 100 students who received letters this week from UD admissions indicating that they have seats in the fall 2013 freshman class, and that they have been admitted as teacher education majors. The busy high school seniors who were contacted were excited and eager to learn more about the University of Delaware. The ASPIRE callers described the school’s climate as active and very busy with TONS of clubs, opportunities to travel, and many, many special interest communities such as ASPIRE to join. Some parents intercepted the calls, and they seemed equally excited, with many indicating an interest in visiting the campus again during Destination Delaware. ASPIRE will host a table on Sunday April 7 from 6:00-7:00pm in Trabant to welcome families who attend Destination Delaware.
Several Research Fellowships are available to work with the On Track for Success: Making Progress Summit. Undergraduates accepted as fellows will work in teams to support completion of college and scholarship applications with selected rising high school seniors.
2013 Summer Program: June 3 – July 12 (Dates TBC)
On Track for Success continues work in support of a community of students who face challenges in succeeding in high school and gaining access to post-secondary opportunities. We will work with a maximum of 20 high school seniors (rising seniors).
Contact: Melva Ware firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the fellowship application. Completed applications must be returned by March 11.
This is our latest effort at getting the new ASPIRE officers together…they are a busy crew…pictured are Kevin Nai and Katie Kull, 2013 senior officers, with their crew in training: Camille Fontenelle, Treasurer, Tatiana Burgess, Vice President, and Gemelle John, Historian….. missing are Lorene McCoy, President, Keri Rojas, Secretary, Conor Small and Kevin Davis, PR…stay tuned we are bound to catch them all in the same room soon
On Monday, February 11, Kevin Nai and Arpita Mandal led a spirited discussion of the mission and activities of ASPIRE. The organization welcomed six new students. All the new faces are freshmen!! Twenty continuing members attended the opening meeting and supported Kevin and Arpita in describing the ASPIRE work on campus and in local schools, including officers elect Lorene, Tatiana, Kerianne, Camille, Conor, and Gemelle. The group enjoyed an unscheduled and inspirational treat, as ASPIRE welcomed Renatae Cuffee, the North East Region’s student representative to the national board of the National Education Association (NEA). Renatae inspired us with a short video presentation on the work of the national student organization, which she described as very much like what ASPIRE is doing on campus and in our local community. The one activity featured in the video clip that captured some passion among ASPIRE members was the gathering of student members of NEA to complete a “school makeover” in selected cities around the country…now that is a spring break worth planning!!