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Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: Dream Project

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February 4, 2015 at 5:00 AM

UW Dream Project getting students to college, study shows

Dream Project mentors Gilbert Ko, rear, and Olivia Kozyra work their way around a Renton High classroom during a mentoring session. Photo by Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times 2012.

Dream Project mentors Gilbert Ko, rear, and Olivia Kozyra work their way around a Renton High classroom during a mentoring session. Photo by Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times 2012.

A program that pairs student-mentors from the University of Washington with low-income middle and high school students has had a significant impact helping those students get into college, a new consultant report has concluded.

The program is called the Dream Project, and it was started 10 years ago by University of Washington undergraduates. In 2014, the program touched about 2,000 students at 16 high schools, and another 1,000 middle school students at nine schools.

The program recruits UW undergraduates to go into a select group of Seattle-area high schools and help the younger students work on college applications, financial aid and scholarship paperwork. Called a peer-to-peer mentoring program, the project’s aim is to improve college-going rates for low-income and first-generation high school students. And according to a report by RTI International, a consulting firm based in Berkeley, Calif., it’s doing the job.

RTI’s analysis showed that in 2012, nearly 80 percent of Dream Project participants who enrolled in college went to a four-year college or university — better than comparison districts, and an important measure because students who go to four-year schools are more likely to finish their degrees.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Dream Project, higher education, University of Washington

November 21, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Videos: College students share struggles, triumphs at Education Lab event

On Nov. 15, five local college students appeared before an audience at the University of Washington to share their journeys of achieving college access despite significant challenges and set-backs. “Storytellers: How I Got into College” was hosted as part of the UW Dream Project’s Admissions Workshop Weekend, an annual event that brings dozens of high-school students from throughout King County to UW for assistance completing their college applications.

Go here for a written recap and photos from the evening’s program. Videos of each storyteller are posted below.

Jenée Myers Twitchell, director of the Dream Project, kicked off the event by sharing the story of her own upbringing in Yakima. “My story is filled with addicts,” she said. “Pretty much everybody in my family had gone through or needed to go through rehab.”

Her own struggles inspired her to begin working with local youth and start the Dream Project.

“I didn’t want it be about luck. I didn’t want getting to college to be about, ‘I just hope I meet the right person,'” she said.

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Comments | More in News, Video, Your voices | Topics: Dream Project, storytellers, University of Washington

October 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Tell a story about how you got into college at our Nov. 15 Storytellers event

Bellevue College student Melody Salcedo speaks on stage at a previous Education Lab storytelling event. Photo by Marcus Yam / The Seattle Times

Bellevue College student Melody Salcedo speaks on stage at a previous Education Lab storytelling event. Photo by Marcus Yam / The Seattle Times

Do you have an interesting story to share about getting into college? Education Lab is recruiting current students and recent grads to share short, inspirational tales about how they made a successful transition to higher education.

Selected speakers will get coaching and appear at our Nov. 15 event, Storytellers: How I Got Into College, at the University of Washington.

To send us your pitch, call 206-464-2057 and tell us about an obstacle you overcame to get into college. Your recording should be no more than two minutes and include your full name, phone number and email address.

The deadline to call in your pitch is 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3. We will follow up with you by Thursday, Nov. 6, if we are interested in your story.

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Comments | More in News, Your voices | Topics: Dream Project, higher ed, storytellers

October 24, 2014 at 11:09 AM

How I Got Into College: Students will share stories Nov. 15

UW-Tacoma student Marcus Affleje shares his story at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. Photo by Marcus Yam/The Seattle Times.

UW-Tacoma student Marcus Affleje shares his story at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. Photo by Marcus Yam/The Seattle Times.

Are you a student dreaming of a degree but wondering how to get there? A parent wondering how to help your child get into college?

Education Lab is partnering with the University of Washington’s Dream Project to present Storytellers: How I Got Into College. The event is a revival of an inspiring Storytellers program we hosted last spring at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.

This time around, the event will take place Saturday, Nov. 15, in Mary Gates Hall auditorium on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. Current students and recent grads will deliver powerful individual stories on the theme: “How I overcame an obstacle to get into college.”

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Comments | More in News, Your voices | Topics: Dream Project, higher ed, storytellers

April 12, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Guest: Give counselors the opportunity to develop skills, network together

Jenee-Headshot (1)

Jenée Myers Twitchell

High-school guidance counselors are often misunderstood, unappreciated, and not treated as educational leaders. Like teachers, principals and central office leaders, they ought to be held to high expectations and provided professional development that attends to their ever-changing roles.

Guidance counselors take on all the following challenges: supporting socio-emotional growth, teaching healthy living, parent-teacher-student mediation, discipline enforcement, and college and career readiness, among other duties.

But even in the best master’s degree programs, they rarely get a single day covering the last topic, college and career readiness. As one of my counselor colleagues says: “The sky might fall if there were actually an entire course devoted to college readiness support.”

Yet, by 2020, 70 percent of the jobs in Washington state will require a college degree or career credential. Meanwhile, the number of low-income students, whose first language is not English, or who are ethnic minorities, is rising. These students possess amazing assets. They also face significant challenges. Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — or the new Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA), which is state financial aid for students who can’t file a FAFSA due to immigration status — can be worse than filing taxes.

In these students’ schools, who figures out whether they need to take Spanish if they already speak Amharic fluently? Who makes sure they file the FAFSA so that they can afford to pay for the new Bachelor’s of Applied Science degree at South Seattle College? Increasingly, this is expected of the high-school guidance counselor.

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Comments | More in Guest opinion, Opinion | Topics: college counseling, Dream Project, Jenee Myers Twitchell