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Supporting Underserved Students in Independent Schools: Valuable Best Practices


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Workshop participants can expect to have a lively dialogue about the variety of challenges underserved students are facing in independent schools. In this workshop, the presenters will focus on how partnering organizations can develop and provide academic, financial, social and emotional supports for these students. Participants will identify best practices in facilitating the building of community and discuss ideas on how to create safe spaces for students to reach their maximum potential.

Published in: Education, Economy & Finance
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Supporting Underserved Students in Independent Schools: Valuable Best Practices

  1. 1. Supporting Underserved Students in Independent Schools: Valuable Best Practices<br />SMART (Schools, Mentoring and Resource Team)<br />Nonoko Sato, Executive DirectorErin Gevertz, Director of Placement Services<br />
  2. 2. Agenda<br />
  3. 3. Small Group Discussions (10 Minutes)<br />Break out into groups of 4-5 people.<br />Brainstorm some challenges students from underserved communities might face in independent school settings.<br />Provide one specific example of each challenge your group names.<br />Share with the group.<br />
  4. 4. Agenda<br />
  5. 5. What are the challenges facing students from underserved communities in independent schools?<br /><ul><li>Understanding access to financial aid to offset high tuition costs.
  6. 6. Navigate financial aid forms.
  7. 7. Keeping track of “Extra” costs outside of tuition.
  8. 8. Navigating a more rigorous academic environment.
  9. 9. Understanding and accepting different expectations in and out of the classroom.
  10. 10. Parents unable to financially or resourcefully provide tutors, learning specialists, therapists, etc.
  11. 11. Language barriers prevent parents from connecting with teachers.
  12. 12. Less homework help at home; parents have less formal education than those of independent school peers.
  13. 13. Reconciling the two worlds the students are living in (“Code-Switching”).
  14. 14. Making new friends with peers from privileged backgrounds.
  15. 15. Having pride in their accomplishments vs. shame of being the “scholarship student.”</li></li></ul><li>Baltimore Study<br />205 tenth & eleventh grade male students in a single-sex K-12 independent school<br />Source: Dissertation Study by Dr. Edward M. Trusty, Jr., Calvert School, Baltimore, MD<br />
  16. 16. Agenda<br />
  17. 17. SMART builds individual success stories, one student at a time<br /><ul><li>Recruits from 40+ referral partners.
  18. 18. Advocates for independent school placement
  19. 19. Assists in financial aid process.
  20. 20. Educates and empowers families.
  21. 21. Navigates high school admissions process.</li></ul>Placement Services<br /><ul><li>Provides rigorous academic support through structured afterschool and summer. programs, tutoring, and mentoring.
  22. 22. Leverages school partnerships to monitor and track academic progress to ensure success. </li></ul>Academic Programs<br /><ul><li>Assists with course selection and SAT preparation.
  23. 23. Navigates college application and financial aid process.
  24. 24. Cultivates community service and engagement opportunities.</li></ul>College Access<br />
  25. 25. Financial Solutions<br />True full scholarships<br />Identify potential “extra” costs<br />School value a diverse and inclusive learning environment<br />Annual Fund giving <br />Partnership with scholarship programs<br />
  26. 26. Academic Solutions<br />Academic summer enrichment program<br />After-school program<br />Trained tutors<br />Faculty liaison & trainings<br />Parent education, advocacy, and support<br />Tailored support<br />
  27. 27. Social/Emotional Solutions<br />Separate after-school program location<br />Peer support (shared experiences & backgrounds)<br />High school scholars and college alumni <br />Life-skills, leadership, and self-advocacy curriculum<br />House visits<br />Trained & dedicated mentors<br />
  28. 28. Agenda<br />
  29. 29. Beyond Academic Preparation: The effect of specific supports on college completion<br />Source:<br />
  30. 30. Small Group Discussions (5 Minutes)<br />Get together with your original group.<br />Brainstorm supports your organization can provide to encourage peer support.<br />Share with the group.<br />
  31. 31. Best Practices<br />Build strong community among students with similar backgrounds.<br />Offer safe learning environment to students and parents.<br />Support a strong volunteer base and cultivate dedicated & knowledgeable staff. <br />Partner with other CBOs to provide more services & support.<br />Create an Alumni Advisory Board.<br />Implement Affinity Groups (based on gender, ethnicity, age, cultural heritage).<br />Create a support network for each student. <br />Encourage schools to accept students in cohorts.<br />
  32. 32. Agenda<br />