UW Dream Project
By Elizabeth Parker and Amrita Heer
Elizabeth is the Scholarship Selection Committee Lead and the College and Career Readiness Program Director. She has been in the Dream Project for 10 quarters and has mentored at Global, Foster, and Ingraham. She is a senior, double-majoring in Math and Spanish.
Amrita is the Program Support Coordinator. She has been in the Dream Project for eight quarters and has mentored at Auburn, Federal Way, Kent-Meridian, and Renton. She graduated in 2012 with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Education.
Last December, the Dream Project was awarded a portion of the $40 Million Race to the Top grant given to the Puget Sound Educational School District. This money is funding new positions within the Dream Project: College and Career Readiness Assistants (CCRAs). These are paid positions for students who have been a Dream Project mentor for at least three quarters. They will be placed in either a high school or middle school for 10 to 12 hours a week. This fall, we placed 18 CCRAs (nine in middle schools and nine in high schools), and the program will continue to grow. Next year, there will be about 50 CCRAs; the following year, there will be 90.
The goal of the CCRA program is to increase college and career readiness in schools. Because they are physically in the schools for 10 hours a week, they have the opportunity to build relationships with more students and create a larger impact on the college-going culture of the school. In high schools, some CCRAs are working on meeting with each college-bound student, while others are targeting 9th grade classrooms to emphasize the importance of getting involved in high school and for younger students to begin thinking about their post-graduation plans. In middle schools, CCRAs are doing everything from teaching a weekly class period about high school and college life to working with small groups of at-risk students to develop study habits. Additionally, both our high school and middle school CCRAs are working on planning college campus visits and improving the transition from middle school to high school.
Each week, CCRAs are asked to fill out a log detailing the work they are doing in the school, including a weekly highlight. We wanted to share some of those with you.
“My students were really excited to see me again! J and I got to go to a counselor meeting which was really helpful and interesting” –Middle School CCRA
“I spent two hours with one of my students and she completed 7 applications right there in my office” –High School CCRA
“I was able to work with students on their understanding of different careers (6th graders) and different types of colleges (7th Graders)” –Middle School CCRA
“Worked with non-college bound students as well as lots of 9th graders this week. It’s so interesting to see how students can be at such different places in their lives and understanding of school/life” –High School CCRA.
Read more about what’s going on in the Dream Project on our Alumni e-Newsletter