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February 16, 2011
By Claudene Wharton
The University of Nevada, Reno is reaching out to area high schools with the lowest graduation rates, not only to help their students graduate from high school, but also to help them attend and graduate from college as well.
This Friday, the University will host a welcome mixer for 68 high school students newly admitted to the Dean's Future Scholars program. Since its foundation in 2000, the program has established an educational model resulting in a 90 percent high school graduation rate for those enrolled. The program has traditionally recruited students during their sixth-grade year and mentored them all the way up through middle school, high school and then college. But, this newest cohort is comprised of high-school freshmen and sophomores from Hug, North Valleys and Washoe High Schools.
"The Nevada System of Higher Education, through their federally funded College Access Grant, is sponsoring this group of students in a pilot program, DFS (Dean's Future Scholars) 'EDGE,'" said Program Director Robert Edgington. "Because of the success we have had with the kids we start working with as sixth-graders, we want to see what we can do starting with students early in high school."
The DFS EDGE program requires students to meet with a college-student mentor every week to review grades, establish goals, fulfill high school graduation requirements and plan for college opportunities. The program also includes a six-week summer session that provides students with math credit courses, helps them with other academic skills, introduces them to college life and fosters college success skills. Throughout the program, the students can access free tutoring, internship and job opportunities, help with exam preparation, and a student lounge with resources such as computers, printers and a writing station.
"This is a great partnership," Edgington said. "It has been very nice working with the administrators, counselors and teachers at these Washoe County schools. They are so supportive of these students and of this program. Many of them will be at the mixer on Friday."
Friday's mixer, 6 to 8 p.m. in the William J. Raggio Building, Room 2030, is open to the public.
The DFS EDGE Program is funded through this summer, but Edgington is hopeful that the students' progress will result in continued funding throughout these students' high school years and into college. The traditional Dean's Future Scholars program, with students who begin in the sixth grade, currently has about 250 high school students and 100 middle school students participating.