Santa Fe Starts New Mentoring Program for Incoming Students with GEDs

Beginnings are such fragile things. It is so easy for discouragement to set in when everything is unfamiliar. For GED holders entering college for the first time, a little extra help and direction their first semester can make a huge difference. This is the philosophy behind the new Pathways to Persistence program that rolls out next week.

The program’s goal is to improve the retention rate of GED holders enrolled for their first time, and in their first semester, at Santa Fe.

The program is based on a homegrown proposal that was delivered recently to Education Under Secretary Martha Kanter by a team of SF students and Dr. Angela Long, Coordinator, Student Leadership & Activities.

Their proposal was well received by policymakers.

“Martha Kanter went as far as saying if she had a check, she would write it that day,” Long said.

The American Association of Community Colleges also had high praise for the proposal and directed the team toward several large grant organizations for future funding.

Dr. Sasser, who has been a supporter of the program from early on and accompanied the team to Washington, returned enthused about the program. Working with the student-led team, which includes Student Body President Austin Brinza, Patrick McConn, Frederick Parks Jr., and Brittany Peterson, Dr. Sasser pushed to institute a scaled-down version of the proposal for fall semester.

Program structure

The new program is structured in a three-tiered format. Newly enrolled students will have access to free tutoring with either SF students, staff or community members. A mentoring portion will link the new students with either SF students or staff, UF students, or community members. A seminar series is also planned.

Matches between students and tutors or mentors is being arranged by Tutor Matching Services, a Gainesville start-up company that recently received the $50,000 Cade Prize for Innovation, an award given out by the Cade Foundation.

Tutor Matching Services uses a Facebook application to pair tutors and students, so that they match not only on subject, but also in teaching and learning style. The end result will hopefully be a more productive team, said Student Life Director Dan Rodkin.

Kickoff event Aug. 27

The program is sponsoring a Pathway to Persistence Kickoff Event on Friday, Aug. 27 at 1 p.m. in room R-01. The event will give students a chance to meet program coordinator Sharla Head-Jones, who left her adjunct teaching position to serve as coordinator, and to hear about the different services available through Pathways.

For more information contact Sharla Head-Jones, coordinator, at 352-395-5911.

~This press release is by David Hackett, Communication Specialist, College Relations

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