A collaborative project designed to inspire disadvantaged students at Eau Claire’s North and Memorial high schools toward success in high school and beyond has been awarded a $27,000 Great Lakes Academic Preparation Grant.
The Collaboration for Achieving Postsecondary Success (CAPS) program is a joint effort involving Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC), the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the Eau Claire Area School District.
Through the program, up to 25 students from North and Memorial high schools will enroll this summer in an algebra class at CVTC for which they will earn both high school and college credit. The course will be team taught by instructors from CVTC and the high schools. A CVTC instructor will teach the math content, while high school teachers will lead additional activities covering basic education skills, effective study habits and other techniques for success in college.
Those chosen for the CAPS program will be low-income, students of color, or from families in which no one has ever enrolled in college.
“We see this as a wonderful collaboration between our math instructors and the high school instructors,” said Dr. Ellen Kirking, vice president of education at CVTC, who will supervise the CAPS program. “As partners we’ve come together to compile a program that will help our local high school students learn how to be successful – in high school and hopefully in college.”
Another key aspect of the CAPS program will pair the high school students with one of 12 student mentors from UW-Eau Claire’s Blugold Beginnings program. The plan is for the one-on-one relationships formed between these high school and college students to continue throughout the 2012-13 academic year, providing the North and Memorial students a personal connection with college life.
“Hopefully by having the UW-Eau Claire mentors serve as positive role models and by experiencing success in their classroom experience at CVTC, the students who participate in the CAPS program will learn to be successful in high school and will be inspired to pursue a post-secondary degree,” said Molly Craker, academic services department chair at CVTC.
By having the coursework conducted at CVTC’s Business Education Center in Eau Claire, participating high school students will be made more aware of the many educational opportunities offered through the technical college, Craker said, adding, “It will show them there are options after high school besides a four-year university.”
While the Great Lakes Academic Preparation Grant provides funding only for the first year of the CAPS program, Kirking said the goal is for the program to continue well beyond this summer. “If it’s successful,” she said, “then we would want to continue it.”