Jump Start at Cheyney and West Chester—High Schoolers Get a Sneak Peak at College

Posted by on July 29, 2011

By Dr. Joyce Munroe; Associate Dean for Partnerships, Grants and Faculty Development, College of Education, West Chester University

For more information contact: 610-430-4172, jmunro@wcupa.eduJump Start 2011
For five days in July, thirty-three students from Kensington Urban Education Academy in Philadelphia experienced what it’s like to go to college.  Half of the students spent the week at Cheyney and the other half at West Chester. They attended classes, engaged in campus activities, slept in the residence hall and ate meals in the dining hall.

Jump Start for Future Teachers is a residential college-preview experience—the first of its kind at PA state universities. The essential goal of Jump Start is to increase the number of students from underrepresented populations who enroll in and complete teacher education programs at our institutions, then return to Philadelphia to teach.  With grant funding from the PA State System of Higher Education, the tenth graders were able to attend Jump Start at no cost.  Five faculty members from Kensington accompanied the students, thanks to the support of the School District of Philadelphia.

Each day, students took classes in SAT prep, video editing, and instructional technology, taught by WCU and CU faculty.  In the afternoons, students learned about unique programs on the two campuses.  Evenings were dedicated to movies related to Jump Start themes, special guests, Wii games and journaling.  The Kensington students themselves made the week a success, but it couldn’t have happened without CU and WCU faculty, staff and university student leaders, who went out of their way to welcome and assist the students.  Jump Start coordinators Jolly Ramakrishnan (CU) and Robin Bennett (WCU) implemented the program simultaneously with an amazing degree of consistency and quality.

Jump Start II & III are scheduled for the next two summers. In addition to the week-long immersion experience, WCU and CU will provide mentoring to the students and conduct seminars in Philadelphia for students and their families to inform them of admissions procedures, financial aid, and undergraduate programs.  CU and WCU will also host a reunion of Jump Start participants on both campuses.

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