Project GRAD Akron and 'Life After Graduation'

Project GRAD Akron and 'Life After Graduation'
Posted on 03/04/2019
Image of Project GRAD Akron Logo(Patrick Shade for Akron.com/West Side Leader)

Project GRAD Executive Director Jacqueline Silas-Butler and Akron PUblic Schools Assistant Superintendent Ellen McWilliams-Woods gave a presentation to the school board about Project GRAD and its current programs at its most recent meeting.

McWilliams-Woods said Project GRAD has focused on preparing students for life after graduation.

Silas-Butler discussed the College and Career Central program. The program is for seventh- through ninth-graders and seniors at Buchtel Community Learning Center (CLC) and expanded this school year to include seventh- through ninth-graders at East CLC. Silas-Butler added Project GRAD partners with teachers to provide services for students.

Silas-Butler said the program focuses on readiness for the three Es — employment, enrollment and enlistment.

Statistics of the program were discussed at the meeting. From 2015 to 2018, 213 students completed 533 college applications and were awarded more than $2.1 million in scholarships. Silas-Butler reported 100 percent of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms were completed, and all students successfully completed a Junior Achievement personal finance course.

The GRAD Mentors! program, in its fourth year, gives all seniors in College and Career Central mentoring. All students involved in GRAD Mentors! have participated in at least one job shadow opportunity and one college visit, according to Silas-Butler.

Available to students at Buchtel CLC, Project GRAD has given $1.7 million in scholarships to 412 students since 2006, she said. Silas-Butler said Project GRAD also helps students in receiving additional scholarships.

The final program spotlighted was Bridge to Kindergarten (B2K). B2K has an intensive summer academy that focuses on skill development for kindergartners and wrap-around services for parents to be engaged in their child’s education, according to Silas-Butler.

The program, which has served 318 students, is now open to APS kindergarteners.

Silas-Butler said future plans call for expansion of Project GRAD to seniors at East CLC and sophomores and juniors at Buchtel CLC.
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