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Rutgers-Newark Launches Upward Bound Program To Help Students Graduate, Go On To College

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Will Work With East Orange Students Over Five Years

The federal Upward Bound program is coming to Rutgers University, Newark, funded by a five-year, $1.25 million U.S. Department of Education grant to the Rutgers Academic Foundations Center. 

Upward Bound’s aim is to “motivate and prepare underserved first-generation college bound students to complete high school and enroll in post-secondary education,” according to Yanett Salazar Bagce, Rutgers-Newark’s program director. The intensive college preparatory program will serve 9th-, 10th- and 11th-graders from East Orange STEM Academy High School, East Orange Campus High School and Cicely L. Tyson Community School of the Performing & Fine Arts High School, East Orange.  The R-N program is one of only eight in New Jersey.

Courses will focus on a core curriculum of five subjects: mathematics, laboratory sciences, composition, literature, and foreign languages, according to Bagce. SAT preparation is an important part of the program, as are the “foundations for academic success,” including critical thinking and writing, character development, test preparation, time management and SAT preparation. 

The addition of the Upward Bound program will “build upon the Academic Foundations Center’s mission of providing academic opportunities, resources, and support programs for underrepresented students to achieve success thorough education,” explains Deborah Walker-McCall, associate dean of academic affairs, AFC, and director of the Educational Opportunity Fund program. 

Dr. Gloria C. Scott, superintendent of schools, East Orange School District, stated, “We are excited to be a partner with this very prestigious program that will encourage our students to seek a post-secondary education by providing them with exposure to college campuses, mentorship programs, and helping them to prepare for college entrance exams.”

Upward Bound focuses on both the academic and social development of students.  For instance, courses explain interpersonal norms that shape daily interactions, teaching skills such as teamwork, communication, healthy decision-making, honesty, and responsibility. The curriculum also teaches teens the fundamentals of finance, foundations for academic success, and college planning; these are offered in partnership with NJ Cares and Cents Ability. Students also benefit from cultural enrichment activities, such as field trips to museums, tours of college campuses and community events.

Upward Bound is free to participants; the 60 students in R-N’s program were selected for admission to Upward Bound based on federal eligibility criteria.  For more on Upward Bound: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/triupobound/index.html

In January, these 60 began taking rigorous Saturday courses at Rutgers-Newark, and during summer months they will participate in a daily academic program.  Come fall, they will begin attending Saturday classes for the full academic year, then resume their daily summer courses program in June  -- a process they will repeat through the grant’s end in 2017.  As students enter into the 12th grade, 9th- graders will be recruited, ensuring there are always 60 participating students.

For more information on Upward Bound or other pre-college programs: http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/afc or 973/353-3574.