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Our Rationale



WHY A ROLE MODEL PROGRAM?


Research has shown that there is a strong correlation between students having a mentor/role model and their pursuit of higher education.

  • The majority of mainstream children never have to ask themselves the question, "Can I really be a teacher, doctor, astronaut, or politician?” Unfortunately, many Latino youth have never seen models that look like them in those professions. For this reason, it is important to provide credible Latino role models to students.
  • “Latino students need role models to help them see their educational opportunities and to show them how to navigate the college system. For many of these students, this knowledge may not be available from other sources.”
  • “The findings identified four family background characteristics that contributed to their scholarly achievement. The four themes were (a) a strong parental commitment to the importance of education, (b) parental facilitation of their child's autonomy, (c) an array of nonverbal, parental expressions of support for educational goals and tasks, and (d) the presence of supportive faculty mentors and role models in the students' lives.”


    WHY MIDDLE SCHOOLS?


    In order to reduce dropout rates, intervention is necessary at an early age, even as early as middle school. Cynthia Smith, executive director of the Juvenile Assessment Center said many of the students she sees have "mentally dropped out of school much earlier than when they finally stop going to class.” The juvenile center uses academic testing to test those who have committed crimes and have found that many teenagers test in at third or fourth grade reading and math. This fact reiterates the importance of early intervention among middle school students.


    Another reason for targeting middle schools is to increase their students’ interest in attending magnet high schools when available in their communities. Magnet schools recruit and filter candidates from middle schools based on test scores and their interest in the special interests. The middle schools students need to be prepared adequately through 6-8th grades including exposure to a variety of careers so that they can make better decisions in relation to which magnet high school they might want to attend.