Our high school is in an urban suburb of St. Louis. We have an extremely diverse student body. Besides having students who are African American and white, our school is also the English Language Learner hub for the district. We have students who come from many countries and who speak countless languages.
In 2010, teachers created a program called West Prep to address a concern in our school - the demographics of our upper-level classes do not match that of our student body.
We created separate mentoring groups for girls and boys at each grade level to support and encourage students of color taking upper-level classes. Each group works together throughout their high school years. They do a variety of activities including team building, leadership skills, college research, ACT test practice, college and scholarship applications. The goal is for students to form a support system together to motivate and encourage each other.
This visit to the University of Missouri in Columbia will be the first time most of our West Prep Sophomores visit a college. Students will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from Admissions and Financial Aid, to interact with a student panel focusing on students of color, to have lunch in a residence hall cafeteria, and to take a campus tour.
Visiting a college will show students what they are capable of achieving and will motivate them to do their best.
When we have taken past groups on college visits, students have received concrete information about what is necessary to prepare for college. It encourages them to set goals and to make plans for achieving those goals.
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