Ten years ago, East High School parents Jessica Pearson and Caren Press started the A+ Angels Program to help to bridge the school’s achievement gap. Despite strong Advanced Placement classes and a nationally acclaimed Constitutional Scholars team, academic performance and graduation rates lagged for the school’s 26 percent black and 26 percent Hispanic population.
The A+ Angels Mentor Program pairs struggling students with adult volunteers from the community. Many of the A+ Angel mentees have significant socioeconomic and academic challenges. Some are the primary breadwinners for their families. Mentors generally meet with their assigned student once a week and also keep in contact throughout the week. Mentors review grades weekly, work on homework and organization, meet with teachers and counselors, and later help apply for jobs, internships and college.
The program now has nearly 100 mentor-student pairs, and the school’s graduation rate has increased from approximately 75 percent in 2004 to 90.38 percent in 2014.
Currently, 30 East High freshmen need a mentor for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year. Training for new mentors will be held from 8:30am to 1pm on Sat., August 16 at East High School. To learn more, contact Jessica Pearson, program director, at Jpear2071@msn.com or Claire Slattery Quintanilla, program coordinator, at Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-719.849.3654.