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Depaul's Effort to Boost Graduation Rates

From a Northside local:

Grant Helps DePaul Boost Graduation Rates Among Minorities

A Bank of America grant is aimed at helping the Lincoln Park university research to find effective methods to boost graduation rates among young Black and Hispanic men.

The statistics are startling.

Only 52 percent of Black men and 58 percent of Hispanic men graduate from high school in four years. In comparison, their white, non-Hispanic counterparts graduate in four years at a rate of 78 percent, according to a recent study by the Schott Foundation for Public Education.  

Fueled by a $25,000 grant from Bank of America, DePaul University plans to help more minority males in public schools achieve academic success by expanding its work with the Chicago Public School’s Male Initiative Project (MIP). 

Launched in Chicago in 2006, MIP is a network of school-based mentoring programs that bring together counselors and educators to address issues affecting the academic, personal and social success of Black and Hispanic males. The program includes a strong mentoring component and the support from Bank of America will enable DePaul to evaluate the effectiveness of this aspect.

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“In 2008, DePaul evaluated the impact of mentoring in the Kenwood Brotherhood, which was started by school counselor Shelby T. Wyatt,” said Glenna Ousley, director of community outreach at DePaul. “We found that those in the program were doing better academically than males in the CPS system and within their own school."

A more detailed evaluation is necessary to identify what aspects of MIP mentoring programs are most effective, she said, so they can be replicated.

The grant also will help create a digital social learning network that will enable students and mentors to gain knowledge, exchange ideas and connect to a broad range of opportunities, according to a news release.

Bank of America’s support comes at a critical time for the MIP program. CPS funding no longer exists for it and additional support is needed from teachers, counselors and volunteers. Funding DePaul’s MIP evaluation gives Bank of America the chance to help paint a more promising picture for academic success among young minority males.

“This program is an example of what can be done with effective partners like Kenwood Academy and DePaul University who use their expertise to create a focused, well-supported approach,” said Julie Chavez, Senior Vice President of Bank of America. “Bank of America is pleased to support a program that directly supports the academic achievement of Chicago’s middle and high school students.”

To date, MIP has touched the lives of more than 300 students attending 20 public schools in Chicago. DePaul first became involved with the initiative in 2006 when it began hosting MIP’s annual student development conferences and tapping faculty and staff talent to develop workshops based on themes and topics suggested by the project’s student participants.

The mentoring program evaluation funded by Bank of America will allowDePaul to expand its active support for educational diversity and access. Findings from DePaul’s evaluation are anticipated in the summer of 2013.



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