To help our students reach their goals and maximize our efforts in the classroom, we realize the need to be a support for parents as much as for their children. For this reason, in addition to the referral services we offer, we are forming parent programs focusing on educating parents and activating them in their child's life. We will begin offering immersive ESL classes for our parents as an expressed high need among our community. With a majority of our student body coming from Spanish speaking homes, we will soon offer ESL classes to strengthen each parent not only in their personal life but to also equip them with the language skills necessary to advocate for their children.
We will also begin Strive Parents Empowered! - a set of parenting classes focusing on best practices for nurturing their child academically and holistically in today's day. Our parenting classes will be specific to the issues our youth face in their classrooms, out in our community, and too often in their homes. our Strive Parents will also be a way for us to build community amongst our families and strengthen the connection with our parents.
Lastly, we will soon begin to offer Early Education for Kindergarten students during morning hours. Students will receive instruction from an early education specialist working on language development, preparing for early literacy and cultivating social skills.
“Reading is the most important subject in school.”1
In order to maximize the impact we can have on the long-term educational preparation of our students, we are working to add a private-caliber Middle School to our existing facility. This endeavor is a long-term goal that requires wise planning, effective fundraising and professional staffing. The After-School program we have operated for several years continues, and will be an extension of the school day for our student body, as well as the neighborhood kids.
Our children navigate thorny issues and sidestep social quicksand in their lives everyday. They are street savvy, resilient & tough as nails. Our goal is to couple the survival instincts they have developed, with being personally and academically prepared to lead independent, happy lives of purpose.
The Middle School at Strive will be an educational option for highly motivated, educationally ambitious children and their families. Although there will be a nominal tuition for our low-income families, our students and families have the ability to earn their entire tuition back by achieving contracted, pre-determined academic goals. (see Tuition Vesting below)
By “educating the head, heart and hand”2 with fundamental academics, core character development and an ethic of individual responsibility for one’s behavior and choices, Strive students will habituate the intellectual and personal characteristics that will lead them to responsible, independent lives of purpose.
Understanding the importance of hard work; good study habits and organization; a respect for the ideas of others; the development of critical thinking and logical reasoning; taking responsibility for one’s learning; and understanding that success is earned, not given. 3
With Tandem Teaching, our students and teachers advance with each other from one grade to the next, creating a sustained student-teacher-parent “team” involvement. This schoolhouse model departs from the assembly-line teaching that has become the norm in the U.S. Rather than “processing” students along the “line” year after year, students will enter Strive in 6th grade and remain with their core teachers through 7th and 8th grade, allowing us to know and work with
their strengths, weaknesses and character in depth.
Our tuition vesting plan is beautiful in it’s simplicity and anticipated effectiveness for the following reasons:
- It encourages a Parent-Student-Strive collaboration in the long-term educational
success of our students.
- It addresses the stubborn issue of unusually high drop-out rates in the High Schools
near Strive. (see Our Children’s Landscape)
- Tuition: $100 per month/10 month school year
- Our students and their families may earn 100% of their tuition back by signing a
contract with Strive to achieve the following academic goals:
- Graduate High School: 100% of tuition, $3000 is vested.
- Graduate High School with a 3.5 GPA or above: 100% of tuition, plus interest,
approximately $3700 is vested.
Since our Middle School only educates our kids through the 8th grade, this vesting plan also encourages an ongoing relationship with our Students and their families as they proceed through High School. The motivating factor in this vesting schedule encourages them to carry the character and intellectual values they learn at Strive into their High School careers.
Our former Middle School students will return to mentor & tutor current students at Strive during the After-School program.
1. Rafe Esquith, There Are No Shortcuts
2. Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery
3. Dr. Maureen Stout, “The Feel-Good Curriculum: The Dumbing Down of America’s
Kids in the Name of Self-Esteem”
... is a secondary initiative that will grow out of the development of VocabuWord.com. Though the incentivizing features of GradLock will be available to all high school students, our initial aim is to provide an effective financial incentive for millions of low-income, drop-out-risk students to earn their own monetary “academic allowance” by soldiering through their community & personal challenges to earn their high school diploma.
GradLock will enable parents and/or sponsors to define, track and verify educational and graduation benchmarks for students prior to the student’s ability to vest the “academic allowance” they have earned and saved. Development will be delivered through GradLock.com, GradLock.net, GradLock.org, AcademicAllowance.com, AcademicAllowance.net and AcademicAllowance.org.
More details to come.