Poverty is linked to a number of negative outcomes for children in the areas of education, emotional development, and delinquency. Lower income children need supplementary resources to assist them in developing their potential.
The “achievement gap” between low-income or minority students and majority students has been well documented nationally and locally. We have seen no significant change in closing the achievement gap since our last Strategic Plan was completed. It is disheartening to see the same persistent achievement gap exist each year. In 2014-15, the gap between black and white students passing ISTEP was 27.5% in FWCS, today it is 30.7%. In EACS, the gap has actually widened, from 43.3% in 2014-15 to 44% in 2014-15.
Moreover, we continue to see low rates of AP enrollment for minority and low-income youth, and lower rates of college readinesss, as measured by variables like graduation rates and type of diploma. We have increased our focus on college readiness by monitoring research-based measures of college readiness within our youth program.
After School Academy
We provide educational, technological and esteem building activities that challenge and encourage youth ages 6 – 18 to practice responsible behavior and to achieve their full potential. Participating youth can receive homework assistance, computerized academic instruction in the tech center (computer lab), guidance in preparing for college, drug prevention education, sexual abstinence education and pre-employment training. They also participate in field trips and attend cultural events, while learning the necessary coping skills to grow into productive adults.
Education, social development, and community service activities are all essential to nurturing children and youth so they will become self-reliant, contributing adult members of the community. The Urban League‘s after-school program and activities provide the youth an alternative to the possible violence that may confront them in the streets.
Through partnerships with area universities, tutors assist the program’s regular staff, in order to give more individual attention to participants and provide exposure to positive role models for the youth. Instruction is provided in reading/language arts, math and science. The tutors have training in special education and/or the subject area being taught.
The After School Academy is open from 3 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday during the school year and as scheduled for special projects/activities on weekends and during the summer. The typical elementary or middle school participant will spend up to 2 hours after each school day Monday through Thursday receiving academic assistance from the certified teachers and the tutors they have trained and supervise. During the school year, the focus will be on homework assistance and related skills required by the Indiana State Standards, based on the identified areas of weakness per their initial enrollment evaluation. Some of the instruction will utilize the tech center (computer lab). Fun Fridays will provide social, cultural andp recreational activities as incentives for participation earlier in the week. Educational programming is also offered for five weeks during the summer.
In 2015, we served 149 students from 49 schools, through our after school programming. Our summer program averaged 99 students per day over 8 weeks where they were provided with daily activities such as, Remediation, Computer Training , College Prep 101, Architecture, Aids Task Force, Urban Teen Readers, Creative Writing, Robotics, Financial Education, and Empowering Camp.
Project Ready is a signature program of the National Urban League (NUL) and is designed to provide enhanced academic and social support to middle and high school students as they prepare for post-secondary success. Fort Wayne is one of five select sites that the National Urban League has provided with additional funding and technical support. Others include; Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia and Rochester.
The Project Ready Curriculum explicitly integrates academic preparation for college along with life skills development and a particular set of emphases on personal, global, and cultural awareness. The College Access Curriculum is comprised of three (3) key components Academic Development, Social Development, and Cultural & Global Awareness.
Participation in Project Ready also makes students eligible for various local and national scholarships. Urban League staff also assists students in applying for scholarships, and helps students improve their writing skills to make scholarships applications more competitive.
Are you a 21st Century Scholar? The 21st Century Scholars program is no longer providing college readiness programming including tutoring, college trips and college planning counseling. Students are encouraged to utilize community programs like Project Ready. Click Here To Apply for 21st Century Scholars
We currently have 96 students enrolled in Project Ready, our college readiness initiative, 100% of the students have an Individual Career Development Plan. The average GPA for an Active Project Ready student is above 3.0. Also, in collaboration with the Fort Wayne Air Force Base, the Fort Wayne Urban League continued to offer the S.T.E.M program for 12 youth to continue to ignite their interest in math and science in our youth. .
Read & Rise
Read & Rise is a family literacy program designed to help parents support their young child's early development. The program includes activities that stimulate brain development, mentoring to parents, and books to build home libraries. All of which is aimed at preparing students to enter Kindergarten ready to learn. The focus of Read & Rise is to mentor parents to be the first and most important teachers of their children, and that families develop routines and behaviors that support literacy development.
Read & Rise was developed between the National Urban League and Scholastic. The program provides 10 home-based family visits to model literacy practices with parents, provide books and assess child development. Our parent educator also conducts parent group workshops in the community. The target areas for Read & Rise are high poverty, multi-family housing complexes (e.g. Eden Green, Chapel Oaks, Housing Authority complexes). Many of the children served by Read & Rise are not enrolled in quality childcare. Without Read & Rise, they risk entering school with limited quality early learning experiences.
Read and Rise continued to help parents become their children’s first and best teachers. In 2015, we served 121 families, 242 children, made 250 home visits, and distributed 500 books.
The pre and post test result showed that 95% of them have improved in their parenting skills and 89% of the children demonstrated mastered the necessary skills to be ready to read.