Partners4Education (P4E), a major initiative of IHEP, is a multifaceted, early education awareness program targeting low-income and underrepresented communities in the District of Columbia. It introduces students and their families to the possibility of achieving success in both higher education and professional careers and is a model for similar efforts nationwide.
The mission of Partners4Education is to prepare students, and their families, in low-income and underrepresented communities to succeed academically and socially in their postsecondary education and adulthood experiences.
P4E begins working with students who are in the early stages of their educational path—as young those in the sixth-grade—and continues playing an instrumental role in their lives until they complete high school. Programmatic efforts focus on postsecondary education planning, preparation, admission, retention and successful completion.
Founded on the belief “it takes a whole village to raise a child,” P4E engages the entire community to help students become confident, well-rounded adults. This principle directs P4E’s four comprehensive programs, which provides investment opportunities for communities, schools, and businesses: One Step Forward, Kids to College, Phase Three, and Steps 4 Continued Success.
One Step Forward
One Step Forward is designed to enhance the ability of all families to assist, direct, support and guide their students in their pursuit of higher education. Held in community recreational facilities, sessions incorporate experiential learning methodology and are taught by subject experts, P4E staff and staff from other host community sites. Communities provide at least eight student workshops and four family workshops yearly.
The One Step Forward family workshops focus on:
- Developing strategies for improving academic skills;
- Increasing knowledge about college, career and financial aid opportunities;
- Involving all family members in college planning and preparation.
Kids to College
The Kids to College program is designed to raise awareness of the importance of higher education among younger middle school students, who will soon need to make decisions that can have a major impact on their future, such as which classes to take in high school. Developed by The Sallie Mae Fund, the program brings together low-income middle school students, most often sixth-graders, with staff and students from local colleges and universities. Over the course of six weeks, program participants are given information on study skills, high school course choices, preparation for college and careers, and life as a college student. Hands-on activities keep participants engaged, and the program ends with a visit to one of the partner colleges and universities, so that participants and their parents can get a firsthand look at college life.
Phase ThreePhase Three engages a select group of Kids to College participants in follow-up activities beginning in the sixth grade and continuing through eighth grade. The two-session curriculum is facilitated by college students and focuses on postsecondary options, career choices and the college admissions process.
Steps 4 Continued SuccessSteps 4 Continued Success focuses specifically on academic preparation for college. The program consists of monthly sessions that highlight math, writing, reading and critical thinking skills. Sessions are held on a college campus and facilitated by college students. Sessions also include a variety of higher education and career awareness activities. Students and families make a long-term commitment to the program, with family members participate in specific activities.
Each Steps 4 Continued Success university-partner develops specific performance objectives that reflect the needs of the participants. However, all objectives are designed to:
- Increase the academic performance of participants in math, writing, reading and critical thinking skills;
- Increase the numbers of students who complete high school;
- Increase the numbers of students who enter postsecondary education; and
- Increase the family’s knowledge about the process of preparing for postsecondary education, including identifying and applying for sources of financial aid.
© Institute for Higher Education Policy 1993-2010