Large Fund Survey 2017- Y scholars


GRANT RECIPIENT: Y-Scholars, January 26, 2017

Please tell us how many students you have served to date and provide any relevant documentation

Each school year we target 120 students at GHS (30 each grade) and are currently at our capacity (list available upon request).  In addition, during our after school study sessions many students bring friends that are never turned away regardless of race, gender, income, etc.  Our work with the GHS College Network also puts us in contact with GHS students outside of our program via events like FAFSA Night, Senior College Application Help, SAT Prep, College & Summer Resource Fair, etc.

Please tell us about what is going well with your program or service

Our program is at capacity and students are Y-Scholars students are graduating and pursuing higher education after leaving GHS.  The current staff, Theresa Hardy and Chris Rossman, have worked together the last four school years and have the program running at levels Mr. Thomas, GHS teacher and program co-founder, is extremely proud of the work that we are doing.

Family events are also going great.  We have big turnouts of families of color in support of academics and it is great to see the GHS Commons full during our events.  These events include our Kick Off, Cram Sessions, University Day, and year end Jubilee celebration in which we honor all of our students especially the seniors heading off to college.

Our college readiness component is going strong as students are participating in SAT prep, college visits including our spring break College Tour (WSU, CWU, EWU, & Gonzaga), and assistance with applications, essays, scholarships, FAFSA, and more.

We are also promoting leadership and building resumes to make students all around good members of the community.  Our students fill at least two positions in each grade level on GHS ASB and ASG.

Please tell us about any challenges you have encountered in implementing your program or service

We have been fortunate to not have any notable issues with the program.  Being YMCA employees working in the school district can have its pros and cons.  For example, from January to March we participate in the YMCA annual fundraising campaign that can take some of our time away from the building.  Being that the campaign directly helps support the Y-Scholars program it is a necessary part of the job.

Please tell us if you anticipate making any changes to the way your program or service is implemented

Y-Scholars is always looking for new way to improve the program.  We often attend trainings and professional development opportunities to better serve our students.  Last year during the College Board Western Regional Forum in Seattle we learned of an organization running a family university day for its students and their families.  This past year we started the first annual Family University Day in which students and families meet at a local university for tours, presentations, food, and more to learn about the campus.  Our first partner was Seattle University and we are currently working with the University of Washington on this year’s event.  The plan is for program participants and families have the opportunity to visit at least four schools during their time in the program.

We are also educating staff on the latest in SAT test preparation.  In the past we have hired outside organizations to come in and work with students on test prep.  We have learned in this past year from test providers at College Board that free online test prep is the best way for students to get ready.  We are now educating all of our participants (and others through the GHS College Network) on how to access this online prep and other testing best practices.

Please tell us about how your program or service is working to meet the funding criteria outlined

In your initial funding request.

The two current Y-Scholars staff (Theresa Hardy & Chris Rossman) have been with the program since the 2013-2014 school year.  Neither of them were on board for the initial funding request.  They both continue to work on ensuring enrollment targets are met, students are participating, and graduating en route to continuing their education after GHS.

In addition to working with our program participants we are also involved with the GHS College Network along with CAN, CSF, Upward Bound, and the College & Career Center.  We all work together regularly to provide service to the entire GHS population such as after school tutoring, FAFSA Events, SAT Prep Workshops, Senior College Signing Day Celebration, College & Job Fairs, and more.

Please tell us about progress on your measurement protocols and results

Each month we report to the Y the following: number of days program offered, number of students served, description of activities, family event info, volunteers, community partners, Program Quality Assessment (PQA) goals, and more.

In the event we would have a drop in attendance, events, etc. we would strategize on how to raise those numbers.  Our PQA goals for the year are the following:

·         Provide students with the opportunity to have interdependent roles

·         Target tutors that can assist in multiple subjects

We are currently applying new strategies throughout the year to improve in these areas.

In addition, each year we report on our number of graduates and how many enroll in higher education after leaving GHS.  We are currently at 100% for both during our time here the past four school years.

If possible, we would love to hear of a specific example of how your program or service has effected a particular student (no names, please)

One of our current students has taken full advantage of the services we offer through our program.  During her first three years of the program she took on a rigorous schedule of honors and AP classes.  She attended our biweekly study sessions, field trips, SAT prep, spring break college tour, finals cram sessions, family events, and more to help prepare for college and the application process.

To date she has applied to over 20 schools and the acceptance letters are rolling in.  She has already been accepted to her top choice (Gonzaga) and is one of four students in Western Washington to be in the running for a full ride scholarship to the school for all four years.  We are currently prepping her for the next stage for the scholarship which includes an in person visit to the campus that includes interviews, writing exercises, group dynamics activities and more.  In addition to this prep the students continues to come in during after school sessions to work on other scholarships including working with our writing tutor that is also a writer for the New York Times.  The students love working with this tutor on their essays!  We are extremely excited about the future of this student and all of the seniors in the class of 2017.