A Queens-based afterschool program is helping low-income students apply to and prepare for elite higher education. Legal Outreach offers writing courses, SAT prep and workshops, and even helps get students placed in summer internships with prestigious law firms. “For our kids, going to college is as different as going to another country,” co-director Bethsheba Cooper said. “Knowing what’s coming and having the tools to deal with it allows them to navigate this new world.” Once they get into college, Legal Outreach students typically outperform their peers, with some 93 percent of students graduating within six years compared to 18 percent of students from comparable high schools, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
Ten fourth-graders at Dr. Walter Cunningham School for Excellence are improving their writing, researching and public speaking skills through a hip-hop literacy program. The students work in groups to conceptualize and write a rap, with each person composing their own stanza, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. Students have already had the opportunity to turn their ideas into a reality by recording their songs at the Teknitions studio in downtown Waterloo.
Hamilton County’s first community school marked its one-year anniversary this week, celebrating its successful efforts to provide wraparound services to students and parents. Red Bank Community School houses afterschool programs, academic help, parent engagement and community partnerships. “Schools can’t do it alone,” principal Ellen Harper told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Students need support outside the classroom in order to thrive. Education is a community effort and a community responsibility.”
The Alley afterschool program opened its doors in 1997 after the shooting death of teen Justin Mercado and intended to give young people a safe space to spend their afternoons. Twenty years later, the nonprofit has afterschool programming four days a week for middle school students, offering activities ranging from cooking classes to discussions with community leaders. “It’s been amazing to be here and watch kids who needed something and someone and see them change for the better,” board member Monica Astorga told the Dodge City Daily Globe. “You would see kids come in here with their heads hanging low and by the time they leave here and become adults, their head is held high.”