SCOPE Prep launches spring program with support from Verizon Foundation

Thursday, February 21, 2013 2:00:00 PM

The Stritch Center for Opportunities and Promise in Education (SCOPE) Prep program launched its spring semester on Feb. 14.

Scope Prep Scholars

With new funding from the Verizon Foundation, this pre-college education initiative supports the academic development of students in grades 2 -8, while engaging them in activities that build an interest in higher education.

SCOPE Prep director Teon Austin is grateful for the foundation’s financial support.

“With this grant, we will be able to provide our scholars with more project-based learning opportunities,” explained Austin. “This is important because it makes learning fun, and it feels different than the day they have just spent in school.”

In partnership with the Green Tree Teutonia Neighborhood Networks Community Learning Center, Stritch students tutor and mentor SCOPE Prep scholars.

Undergraduate Urban Fellows, under the guidance of urban education chair Dr. Corey Thompson, provide academic support as tutors during biweekly sessions. With one tutor serving only two or three scholars, the program encourages strong bonds and deep relationships.

In addition, SCOPE Prep scholars partner with a Stritch mentor in a pen pal relationship, and are expected to attend at least two campus visits.

In the fall, SCOPE Prep focused on improving scholars’ literacy skills through the “Milwaukee, A Great Place on a Great Lake” curriculum, developed by Dr. Thompson.

Through the program, scholars learned more about their city while developing language arts skills, such as reading, writing, and critical thinking. Several native Milwaukeeans, including special Olympian and author Cindy Bentley, visited the students.

The current semester focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiatives. Like the Verizon Foundation, SCOPE Prep strives to use technology to more fully prepare its scholars for success in the 21st century.

Dr. Thompson described how the program changes scholars’ daily lives by putting post-secondary education on their radar as an attainable goal.

“One of the questions posed to scholars during the fall semester was, ‘What are some places that you know about in Milwaukee?’” explained Dr. Thompson. “The most popular answer was fast food restaurants, especially McDonald’s. Other places included The Dollar Store, Family Dollar, and the mall. Only one scholar even mentioned the word ‘school.’”

Dr. Thompson went on to explain that after completing the program, more than half of the scholars answered the same question with places including Stritch, UWM, MATC, Pius XI High School, and Dominican High School.

Since its launch in 2010, SCOPE Prep has served close to 60 scholars. 28 individuals are currently enrolled in the 2012 -13 program.

SCOPE Prep is also supported by the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation.