The Stritch Center for Opportunities and Promise in
Education (SCOPE) Prep program launched its spring semester on Feb. 14.
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
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
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
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
Dr. Thompson described how the program changes scholars’
daily lives by putting post-secondary education on their radar as an attainable
“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.