(Moderator note: This post is written by guest contributor, Gayle Schaub, and is the first part in a series about her service-learning project).
This fall two academic librarians and a college professor embark on a brand new initiative in Grand Rapids, Michigan to improve a community by building academic success in a neighborhood. My name is Gayle, and I am one of the librarians. My idea was to teach 6th graders the information literacy skills they’ll need to be ready for college, and I knew I couldn’t do this alone. This is the first part of our story.
Challenge Scholars: The background
Students in the public schools on the West side of Grand Rapids, Michigan face a number of challenges to their educational success. Only 2% of high school juniors are college-ready, according to standardized test scores. 92% of the students come from economically disadvantaged households, but even with a way to finance higher education, without a college-going culture or the readiness to perform, a college education is out of reach for most. Challenge Scholars is a program developed and funded through the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. It promises scholarships for students attending the city’s West side public schools and will provide the support needed to insure academic success through the coordinated efforts and partnerships of local school systems, businesses, non-profits, and institutions of higher ed. By investing now in Grand Rapids’ children, everyone involved in Challenge Scholars is helping to build a better-educated and stronger workforce for the future.