Four Quinnipiac University students spent part of their summer giving seventh- and eighth-graders an edge as they prepare for high school in a pilot enrichment and leadership program.
The university students, each of whom aspire to pursue careers in education, helped 14 Highville Charter School students from Hamden and New Haven develop critical literacy, mathematics and science skills in the Rising Scholars initiative co-sponsored by the state-run Hamden charter school and the university’s School of Education.
“We want to make sure our students are prepared to be successful,” said Niki Nash, assistant principal. “Each piece builds on the last.”
In addition to continuing the momentum of learning over the summer, the four-week initiative helped the junior high school students look ahead.
“It demystifies the whole process,” said Kevin Basmadjian, dean of the School of Education, of achieving high school and college goals.
The program was offered at no cost to the junior high school students.
“Our hope is to change lives through a multi-tiered system,” Nash said. “Most of the students don’t have a real sense for what careers are available to them.”
The university students also benefitted from the program.
“It’s a great opportunity for our teacher candidates,” Basmadjian said. “It gives them the opportunity to practice the skills they are developing in our program.”
Alison Given, a Highville Charter School teacher who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at Quinnipiac, helped to oversee the program.
“It’s always beneficial for students to have the opportunity to learn from a variety of different teachers using a variety of methods,” Given said. “The kids seem to be really enjoying it and learning a lot.”
The experience also gave the university students a unique learning opportunity, she said.
“It gives the Quinnipiac students the opportunity to practice what they have been learning and see what works most effectively,” she said. “The more time they are able to work with students in a classroom, the more prepared they will be.”
“It’s really exciting to take what I learned in field study and bring it back to this classroom and teach these kids,” Vincent said.
Kimberly Bode, a graduate student in the master of arts in teaching program, said the students she worked with were impressive and inspiring.
“It’s been great,” she said. “It’s definitely been a lot of great experience.”