Achievement Initiative Hosts College Prep Program

Summer Institute 2013, making robots

This week, some younger-than-usual faces will appear in the halls of the Social Work Building (1255 Amsterdam Avenue). At least 15 students from two Harlem high schools, Frederick Douglas Academy II and Bread and Roses Integrated Arts High School, are expected to begin a four-week-long intensive program that takes place mostly within the School. Their program of activities has been designed by CSSW's Achievement Initiative, which partners with high schools in Harlem to support the aspirations of students to continue their educations beyond high school, with funding from New York State's Liberty Partnership Program.

Alumna Jenna Tutjer (MS'06) serves as the Initiative’s executive director. She said that the students will be receiving intensive SAT prep (with the help of Atlas Test Prep) as well as taking mock SAT exams. In addition, they will be encouraged to start looking for, and applying to, colleges. “College preparation is split into two groups,” Tutjer said. “By the end of the summer, 11th graders will have a list of colleges they want to apply for, and 12th graders will have their CUNY/SUNY applications and personal statements done.”

When not working on pre-collegiate assignments, students will participate in the activities of one of three clubs: the Health & Wellness Club, the Social Action Film Club, or the Digital Presence Club. And Mondays will take them off campus on a series of field trips: to the main Columbia campus, to Google, to a couple of museums, and on a neighborhood walking tour of Chinatown/Little Italy.

The Summer Institute is staffed with the Initiative’s three full-time program coordinators, along with three graduate student interns from the School of Social Work.

For more about the Achievement Initiative, including some of the highlights from last year's summer program, please watch this video:

Image: One of last year's Summer Institute participants, Jonathan Oritz, in a robotics class that took place in a lab at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS).