Funded by the President’s Innovation Fund and in collaboration with the President’s Council and Parkway Heights Middle School in South San Francisco, the Middle School Outreach Project (MSOP) was founded two years ago with the goal of exposing middle school students to college and careers at a young age. In addition, the project serves to provide information about college and financial aid to parents in order to foster and support their development as educational advocates for their child.
In December 2013, during MSOP’s Welcome Day at Parkway Heights Middle School, the Middle School Outreach Team along with President Council Member, Teresa Proaño, interacted for the first time with the forty middle school 8th grade participants that comprised this year’s MSOPs cohort. During Welcome Day, the MSOP team also had an opportunity to meet and interact with our participants’ parents. Welcome Day served to acquaint both students and parents about the project as well as to answer any questions they had.
Between January through March, 2014, Skyline College counselors facilitated a series of bi-weekly educational and career-related workshop at Parkway Heights Middle School. Students learned about Goal Setting, Motivation, Career Planning, and College Preparedness. During these workshops, the middle schoolers were highly engaged and very inquisitive!
In an effort to engage the parents throughout the project, the team hosted Parent Night at Parkway Heights Middle School on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. Parents received important information about high school requirements, the various systems of higher education in California, as well as financial aid and the process to apply for it. Parents learned that it is never too early to begin talking to their child about college.
Lastly, on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, the project team hosted MSOPs Student Conference at Skyline College for forty participating middle school students and Parkway Heights Middle School staff. During the conference, students toured the campus and visited various CTE labs,including Respiratory Therapy, Surgical Technology, and Automotive Technology. In addition, they visited the track and had the opportunity to speak with Skyline College student athletes about their experiences playingsports and being a college student. Furthermore, middle schoolers had the opportunity to experience a college class firsthand and got their very own MSOP Student ID!
In partnership with the Center for Innovative Practices through Hip Hop Education and Research (CIPHER), the student conference concluded with a dynamic college and career panel comprised of professionals from various industries, including education, law, and psychology. These professionals answered students’ questions eagerly and shared their personal experiences in attaining their education and reaching their career goals, while fostering a successful career in the Hip Hop Industry, as DJs, Rappers, and Emcees at the same time.
The Middle School Outreach Project was a tremendous success, which served to instill motivation and the desire to attend college among participants. In their own words:
- “I enjoyed this program. It helped me increase my understanding of college.” T.A.
- “Education is really important for your future.” D.A.
- “College can be fun.” J.C.
The MSOP would like to thank Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud, Dr. Joi Blake, Dr. Angelica Garcia, the President’s Council, especially Mrs. Teresa Proaño and Mr. Steve Martinez, our partners at Parkway Heights Middle School, and the Middle School Outreach Team—Nate Nevado, Lorraine DeMello, Lavinia Zanassi, Suzanne Poma, Kent Gomez, Jocelyn Vila, and Lucy Perez for their support.
In addition, the MSOP would like to thank Skyline College Faculty and the various CTE Labs for welcoming the middle school students into classrooms and labs. Thank you to Mrs. Marta Bookbinder and Mr. Maurice Goodman for your participation in MSOPs Student Conference. Many thanks to the TRiO students, Outreach Ambassadors, and Transfer Ambassadors for all your help during the event.
Thank you to the Skyline College Bookstore, CIPHER, the Office of Financial Aid, and the Center for Student Life and Leadership Development for their kind donations.
Article by Jessica Lopez