MHEC grant enables TU to reach out to Baltimore middle school students

TU will devote $131k grant to college awareness for students at five Baltimore city middle schools


TOWSON, Md. (Sept. 24, 2009)—Towson University received $131,743 from the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) to provide outreach activities and services to improve preparation for and access to college for middle school students from underrepresented populations.

TU’s “Back to the Future” program will provide services to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at Barclay Elementary/Middle School, Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle School, Dr. Nathan A. Pitts-Ashburton Elementary/Middle School, Grove Park Elementary/Middle School, and Winston Middle School.

The MHEC grant, under the federal College Access Challenge Grant Program, provides college-awareness information and services to middle-school students. The program informs those who are at risk of not enrolling in or preparing for college and their parents about postsecondary benefits, opportunities and career planning.

According to project director Pamela Morgan, project coordinator of the TAM program in the College of Education, “Back to the Future” will engage middle school learners and their parents in college awareness and career planning while simultaneously enhancing their technology, other literacy and decision-making skills. Upon establishing a Future Educators Association (FEA) chapter in each of the schools, the project will provide afterschool activities encouraging students to undertake more rigorous course work in an effort to make them more ready for high school and college.

Through the program, students will identify and research successful alumni of their respective schools who obtained college degrees and are considered positive role models. Students will also explore careers in education by determining the level of education and prerequisite course work required, looking at workforce needs, researching higher education institutions and exploring how to fund their education. Through a third activity, students will travel beyond their immediate surroundings to college campuses and museums. The program will also provide workshops for parents.

The goal of Morgan and her colleagues—David Vocke of TU’s Department of Secondary Education and LaJerne Terry Cornish of Goucher College’s Department of Education—is to prepare a greater number of students from some of Baltimore’s underrepresented populations to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. 

“We want students to revisit their earliest aspirations for life beyond high school, Morgan says, “and show them how pursing a college degree can help them realize those dreams.”








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