“Less than 17% of African-American and Latino students will finish high school and graduate from college.” (Landy, 2013) Less than 70% of students in Milwaukee graduate from high school. (Pathways PowerPoint, 2013) Only a little over 25% of the people in Wisconsin hold a four-year college degree. (O’Connell, 2014) This educational disparity leads to economic disparity which affects the entire state, not just the urban areas with a higher achievement gap since most jobs with an annual salary over $30,000 will require a four-year degree. (Winters, 2014) There is a program called Pathways to College that is working hard to change these shocking statistics. We are here tonight to show you that Pathways to College is a cause worthy of your and your organization’s time, talent, and treasure.
The problem is that not enough people know about Pathways to College. We would like to take a few minutes of your time to introduce you to this exceptional program. According to Pathways director Kelly Ramirez, Pathways to College was the vision of past WLC president Tim Kriewall and the program accepted its first students in 2007. Although located on the WLC campus, Pathways to College is a non-profit organization independent from WLC. With the mission “to create a belief that college is an option for everyone (Pathways pamphlet),” the program assists lower-income college prospects who are “first-generation” students (neither of their parents have graduated from college) and have the potential to succeed in college. In this program, students develop academically, socially, and spiritually for college. The program also assists them in finding the financial resources to attend college. The ultimate goal is to increase “the number of lower income and minority students pursuing and completing a post high school education.” (Pathways pamphlet)
The Pathways to College program consists of four components. First is Pathways Prospects in which families visit the WLC campus to become familiar with a college environment and prepare for the Pathways program. (Pathways pamphlet) Next is the precollege component, which is the center of the program. Students in grades 6-12 participate in the after school prep center at least once a week and also once a month on Saturday mornings. They study, receive tutoring and mentoring, attend life skills workshops, and participate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and literacy programs. In addition, the program sponsors a summer academy for grades 6-11 which focuses on academics, sports, and fine arts such as art, dance, drama, and music. (Pathways pamphlet) Director Ramirez said that in addition, high school seniors are able to broaden their educational horizons every summer on an international trip. (This year they are going to Puerto Rico!) Freshman, sophomores, and juniors take a Civil Rights tour in the Southern states, visit colleges in California, and colleges on the East Coast on alternating years.
For the first time in the coming 2014-2015 school year, Pathways to College will be privileged to implement the final component, the college program, as the first graduating class of Pathways begins college next fall! Ramirez said the directors of the program will continue to encourage and mentor these college students. They will keep tabs on the students’ grades and attendance. In addition, financial support, workshops over school breaks, and internship as well as job and career assistance will also be offered. (Pathways PowerPoint, 2013)
Finally there is the parental program. Parents also attend workshops throughout the school year. These regular meetings offer help with life skills and support for guiding their child toward college. (Pathways pamphlet)
It takes a special student to be accepted into the Pathways program. Ramirez informed us that at present there are 17 Pathways partner schools. Teachers at these schools identify students that...
References: Attention Era. (2013, March 10). Pathways to College-the story [Video file]. Retrieved from
Landy, B. (June 13, 2013). Graph: U.S. college graduation rates are rising, but the rest of the
world is catching up [Web log post]
Pathways to College. (2013). What path are you on? [PowerPoint]
and solicitation for grant applications for Youth Build. (2014, February 18). Retrieved
from http://www.doleta.gov/grants/pdf/YouthBuild SGA-DFA-PY-13-04.pdf
Winters, D. (2014, February 11). The brutal facts about the changing labor market and the need
for an educated workforce
Youth indicators 2011 America’s youth: Transitions to adulthood youth indicators 2011 America’s youth. (2011, December 26). Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/
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