By Luci Manning
Middle school students in Hayward are studying anthropology, sociology, engineering and music after school – and earning college credit for their efforts. The district has partnered with Chabot College, a community college in Hayward, to offer courses at five area middle schools. Hayward may be the only middle school in California – or the country – to reach out to younger students. The primary purpose of the program is to expose middle school students to college work and show that they are college material. “Administrators in the district say that many of their students have no relatives or friends who have gone to college and are in danger of thinking or being told that college is not for them,” reports EdSource.
Former math teacher Andrea Morgan is going above and beyond the call of duty as a tutor and mentor with the Chicago Lights Tutoring program. Her weekly one-on-one after school tutoring sessions with 17-year-old Zaria Greenlee turned into regular hang-outs for the pair. They cook dinner, shop for school supplies and even visit colleges together. The program pairs tutors with 400 students of all ages from underprivileged neighborhoods on Chicago’s Near North Side and West Side, and while many of these relationships extend beyond the walls of the classroom, Zaria and Morgan have formed a uniquely strong bond. “She’s more than a tutor to me – she’s like my best friend,” Zaria told the Chicago Sun Times.
While many of their peers stay inside and play video games, children in the Nacogdoches Boys & Girls Club are learning to cook outdoors and carry backpacks, thanks to a partnership with Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA). The afterschool outdoor education program is part of a Texas Children in Nature Network statewide initiative, a partnership of 300 organizations (including SFA) that aim to connect children and parents to the natural world. “In 2009, a bipartisan group got together and said this is really important that we need to get more kids and families interacting with nature,” state coordinator Jennifer Bristol told KTRE.
Kids often don’t listen when their parents tell them to eat their vegetables, but one program in Philadelphia is proving that they may listen to their peers. Nonprofit Greener Partners, which works to increase access to fresh food, trains high school students to be Food Youth Leaders, tasking them with building lesson plans and running afterschool programs that promote gardening, farming and healthy eating. One such leader, high school junior Lacretia Jefferson, currently runs a food science course at Girard College, where she puts together fun nutrition-based activities and healthy cooking lessons for a group of high school students. “I think young people talking and learning from other young people is the best way to get them to understand,” she told the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. “I like showing other kids that if they can learn about something like a new vegetable, they can come to like it.”