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College Prep for Middle Schoolers
CHESTERTOWN, MD—The Bayside HOYAS youth program, Kent County Public Schools, and Washington College have announced their partnership in a yearlong program aimed at helping middle school students and their families prepare for college.
The goals of the College Preparation Intervention Program (CPIP) involve academic preparation, college and career readiness, parental/caregiver development, and leadership skills. The program, funded by a grant from the Maryland Higher Education Commission, will give Kent County Middle School students the academic and social tools they will need to navigate the road to college readiness. This joint venture will also help caregivers identify and develop the skills they’ll need to assist their students through the process.
Participants will engage in community service, college preparation and financial literacy workshops, visits to Maryland colleges, group projects, and book-club events. There are also academic and social programs planned for the summer months to stave off the “brain drain” associated with time out of the classroom.
Program Coordinator and Washington College Assistant Professor of Psychology Amanda Sommerfeld, PhD, says CPIP seeks to engage students on emotional and academic topics at an age when intensive intervention can be most important for at-risk populations.
“The reality of the U.S. labor market is that, if you want to have the best chance of getting a job––and keeping that job––you need a college degree. But too often we don’t start talking to our youth about college and life after high school until they are almost finished with school, and that’s way too late,” she says. “If we want our students to be ready for higher education, they should be hearing about the path to college and learning how to apply in their middle school years. This would mean that when they start high school, they have a plan. We can’t presume that all parents have the knowledge or resources to help their kids get ready for college on their own. This dilemma was what led us to create HOYAS CPIP. By combining the resources of Washington College, the Bayside HOYAS, and the public schools, we’re bringing together the entire community to help Kent County youth and their families believe that college is possible and have the skills to get there.”
Dr. Karen Couch, Superintendent of Kent County Public Schools, says the district is enthusiastic about these organizations coming together to serve Kent County youth. “The Bayside HOYAS have been working with our middle school students for several years. The involvement of Washington College to provide meaningful college and career readiness opportunities will strengthen the program for our students,” she says. “The grant will provide funding to expand delivery of services to benefit both students and their families.”
The name HOYAS is an acronym for Helping Our Youth Achieve Success. John Queen, Pierre Tue, and Paul Tue, the program’s founders and executive officers, will have extensive hands-on roles in CPIP and are deeply committed to providing new opportunities to students and their families via the program.
“I really enjoy knowing the demographic of kids we will be helping need this program the most. I consider myself and the Bayside Hoyas a bridge to success in Kent County,” says President John Queen. “We have the ability to affect kids and their families firsthand and to offer real results in education by working with Washington College, Kent County Public Schools, and the families of the kids who participate in this program.”
The program will start recruiting students at the end of July; only 60 slots are available. Families interested in participating in the program should contact Amanda Sommerfeld at 410-778-7283, firstname.lastname@example.org, or online at hoyascpip.org by August 7.