AUBURN – The entire senior class at Loachapoka High School is receiving HP netbooks as part of an innovative partnership between the school and Auburn University’s Outreach office. The initiative provides academic support and mentoring to help students enter and perform better in college, and ultimately qualify for better jobs.
The distribution of 100 netbooks, coordinated by Auburn’s Office of University Outreach with the Lee County School System, is being conducted for the first time this school year. Funding for the netbooks is part of a grant received by University Outreach from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board to develop this college prep initiative. The mini-laptops are part of a wide range of educational enrichment opportunities now available to the students at Loachapoka.
“These laptops are part of the ‘Advanced University Experience’ component of the initiative,” says Christiana Russell, outreach coordinator for K-12 Initiatives. “They will not only enrich the students’ learning process for their remaining year of high school but will also help prepare them for post-secondary education.” ACT test preparation and development of technologically-based research skills for college are some of the major goals of the initiative.
Initially, the senior class will use the devices to compose their senior writing project. However, the netbooks will help students build their computer and technological skills, while increasing their competencies in math, reading and writing. Netbooks will also support new academic programs, such as an online math enrichment course currently under development by Auburn’s College of Sciences and Mathematics.
The overall partnership between Loachapoka High School and Auburn University is part of a strategic initiative launched last year by the University Outreach office.
“Building high quality, high impact partnerships between Auburn and school systems in Alabama is a key objective of the university’s strategic plan,” says Royrickers Cook, assistant vice president for University Outreach. “Our goal is to help the students increase their academic performance and, more importantly, expand their view of the possibilities of college and career.”
The initiative is supported by a number of internal and external partners. In addition to University Outreach, the College of Education’s Truman Pierce Institute in the College of Education and also the College of Sciences and Mathematics will support program development and administration. Verizon has agreed to partner with the project for technological support. The Lee County School System and Loachapoka High administrators will oversee the involvement of students in the program.
When fully implemented, the partnership will offer a variety of mentoring, tutoring and academic development programs, service learning experiences, family counseling, and other support services for students and their parents. Auburn University is also exploring partnerships with other nearby school districts using its experience at Loachapoka as a model.
(Written by Ralph Foster.)