I am teacher at an underfunded, inner-city high school coordinating an early college awareness program between my school and a college. Currently, a mentoring program has been developed for current freshmen, juniors and seniors to help them navigate the college planning and application process.
Currently, my freshmen, junior and senior students are working with mentors who are students at at prestigious college. They are required to communicate with one another via the Internet and the Blackboard system provided to us by the college. However, there are many students who face challenges in completing the assignments and contacting their mentors because they lack the technology at home. Moreover, as an underfunded school we are limited in our technological resources. Assistance will facilitate our abilities to maintain this program and make it the success it should be.
The availability of at least two netbooks solely dedicated to this program would greatly assist the students in maintaining contact and completing their projects. We currently lack a computer or technology lab and rely on two laptop carts that are shared by a staff of over thirty teachers. These netbooks would be available to students in the back of my classroom the entire day, allowing them to drop in and complete assignments as needed. The assignments require students to research colleges, financial aid opportunities and careers requirements. The end result is a portfolio that contains college profiles, a completed application, completed financial aid forms, a college essay, a resume, etc. These netbooks would also allow for more enterprising students to increase the amount of time they spend communicating with their mentor, building relationships, and researching their post-secondary educational paths.
Most of my students are the first generation in their families to graduate high school and others are the first to be going on to college. The assistance provided by their mentors and the school in the college planning and application process is something many of them cannot get at home.
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